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Wood, Catherine Jane

The Passing Bell: Miss Catherine Jane Wood.(Born June 18th 1841, Died June 14th 1930.)

By the death of Miss Catherine Jane Wood, a well known and forceful personality in the nursing world has passed away. Miss Wood who was the contempoary of Mrs Dacre Craven and Mrs Howard Marsh, commenced her nursing career by entering the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street W.C., of which institution she became the Lady Superintendent in 1878.

"In those early days", she told Miss A.M. Bushby, who visited her in her home at Hartfield in Sussex, "there was no training for nurses, you just picked up what the doctors would teach you!" Miss Wood was one of the very early members of the British Nurses Association, founded in 1887; was its Nurse Hon. Secretary, in conjunction with the Medical Hon, Secretary (Dr Bedford Fenwick), in its strenuous, early days; and was one of the signatories to the Royal Charter granted to the Association in 1893.

She was a co-founder, with Mrs Howard Marsh, of the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, Queens Square, Bloomsbury; and in 1889, founded the Nurses' Hostel in Francis Street, W.C. of which she was Managing Director; and was Secretary General of the Guild of St Barnabas for Nurses, from its inauguration in 1876 until seven years ago.

In 1892-95, she acted as Special Commissioner of the 'British Medical Journal', in connection with the inquiry which it instituted into conditions in the Workhouse Infirmaries in England and Ireland, and considered this one of her best pieces of work which she undertook, her report upon it being published in pamphlet form by the British Medical Association. She lectured on Hygiene and Nursing for various County Councils; and in its day her 'Handbook on the Nursing of Sick Children' was a standard work.

During her later years she became quite blind and somewhat deaf. Miss Bushby writes: "When I visited her some few weeks ago, she did not complain and only said "You know I am blind," which I had not realised. As one looked at her, one could not help realising that the long life was fast drawing to a close. Her face showed no sign of sorrow or care and one thought her almost beautiful.

Miss Wood was fortunate in having for many years the friendship of Miss Nancy Paul, who devoted the greater part of her life to her, and her unstinted devotion to her must, especially in her later years of helplessness, have been a great comfort to her frail old friend.

Miss Wood died at Hartfield on June 14th and was buried there on June 18th


Registration number2
First name(s)Catherine Jane

27 Percy Street, Tottenham Court Road, W.C
Haget Rough, Hartfield, Sussex

Date of registration7 March 1890

The Hosptial for Sick Children, 1863 - 1888
Lady Superintendent, 1878 - 1888

Personal details

Date of birth28 June 1841
Place of birthLondon
Family details

Parents: John and Catherine Jane
Prosperous middle class family

Date of death14 June 1930
Place of deathHartfield

Professional details

Additional training

Lady visitor, late '50s, to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street.

Professional activities

Early member and Nurse Hon. Secretary of the BNA

Additional professional details

Signatory to the Royal Charter, 1893.
Co-founder of the Royal Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, Queen Square. Founder and MD of the Nurses Hostel, Francis Street.
Lectured on Hygiene and Nursing for various County Councils.
Secretary general of the Guild of St Barnabas for Nurses, 1876 - 1923
Wrote 'Handbook on the Nursing of Sick Children', a standard work of its time

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