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Thorold, Godiva Marian

sWith the death of Miss Godiva Marian Thorold at Warleigh House, Wakleigh, on January 15, a remarkable personality in the nursing world has passed away.

Miss Thorold, who was the daughter of the Rev William Thorold, was for 35 years Lady Superintendent of Nursing at the Middlesex Hospital, having previously gained experience in nursing at University College Hospital. Her first connection with the Middlesex Hospital was during the Franco-Prussian War, when she did duty for the Lady Superintendent during her leave of absence, subsequently doing holiday duty for her for three successive years and being appointed to succeed her on her retirement.

Miss Thorold, as a gentlewaman held a unique position at that time as the head of a large London nurse-training school. She was a woman of affairs and of great ability and force of character. She was accorded the position of Lady Superintendent of Nursing and was the only matron of a large London hospital who went round with the nursing staff, thus giving her the professional position in the hospital, which was not shared at that time by any of her colleagues in similar positions. Miss Thorold claimed for nursing a real professional status but, as was the custom at that time, made a great distinction between the Lady Probationer and the working nurse. The former she often addressed as "Dear" and shook hands with when passing through the wards. To the regular nurse she wished "Good Morning".

Miss Thorold took an active part in helping to found the British Nurses Association but when the contest against State Registration became acute, she actively supported the medical honorary officers who at that time dominated the Association. The position was undoubtedly a difficult one for her, as the Medical Honorary Secretary of the R.B.N.A. who was also Resident Medical Officer of the Middlesex Hospital (the late Mr E A Fardon )voted against the principle of registration at a conference convened by the British Medical Association, claiming that in doing so he was acting on behalf of the Hospital, the Board of which was inimical to State Registration. It was, in short, the old fight of the schools to gain control of the nurses who have passed out of their jurisdiction, a power provided in the Consultative Board of the College of Nursing Ltd at the present time.

Miss Thorold was devoted to the Middlesex Hospital and, according to her light, a most efficient officer. She was early on duty and seldom retired before midnight. She resigned her position there in 1905, but is still remembered by many of the staff there, and a memorial service was held in the chapel of the hospital, at which every mark of respect was paid to her memory.


Registration number3
First name(s)Godiva Marian

Middlesex Hospital: Warkleigh House, Umberleigh R.S.O. South Devon

Date of registration7 March 1890

None given



Personal details

Date of birth1841
Place of birthNortham, Devon
Family details

Father: Rev William Thorold

Date of death15 January 1918
Place of deathWarleigh House, Devon

Professional details

Work experience

Gained experience at University College Hospital
Did duty for the Lady Superintendent of the Middlesex at the time of the Franco Prussian War (1870-71) and covered her holiday duty for 3 succesive years, she was appointed to succeed her, as Lady Superintendent of Nursing at the Middlesex, on her retirement in 1873
She resigned in 1905

Additional professional details

The only matron of her time who went round with the medical staff, a position not shared by any of her colleagues
Helped to found the British Nursing Association
In the contest about the principle of State Registration she supported the Medical Honorary Officers who dominated the Association
She was in a difficult position as the Middlesex Board was opposed to the schools gaining control of the nurses



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