Agnes Hunt

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Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt
Born (1866-12-31)31 December 1866
London, England
Died 24 July 1948(1948-07-24) (aged 81)
Baschurch, Shropshire, England
Education Royal Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl, Wales
Medical career
Profession nurse
Institutions The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
Specialism Orthopaedic nursing
Notable prizes DBE
Royal Red Cross

Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt DBE RRC (31 December 1866 – 24 July 1948) is generally recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse.

She was born in London[1][2] and brought up at Boreatton Park, Baschurch, a village in west Shropshire, England. She was disabled from osteomyelitis of the hip that she suffered from as a child following septicaemia.[3] In 1887, she began training as a nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl and opened a convalescent home for crippled children at Florence House in Baschurch in 1900 which espoused the theory of open-air treatment.

In 1901, she sought treatment for her own condition from a Liverpool surgeon, Robert Jones.[4] She invited him to visit the convalescent home and he eventually began travelling there on a regular basis to provide treatment to the children. By 1907, they had built an operating theatre and they introduced the diagnostic use of X-rays in 1913. During World War I, Florence House was used to treat wounded soldiers.

In 1918, Hunt was awarded the insignia of the Royal Red Cross for her contribution during the war.[5] In 1919, the British Red Cross Society and the Shropshire War Memorial Fund provided financing to move the facility, renamed the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, to a former military hospital at Park Hall, near Gobowen, Oswestry. The hospital also provided training for nurses. Later, a school begun for the children developed into a training college for disabled adults, Derwen College. The hospital was used once again to treat wounded soldiers during World War II. Following an extensive fire in 1948,[6] the hospital underwent a period of reconstruction and expansion, developing into what is now called The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1926.

Hunt died in 1948 aged eighty-one. Her ashes were interred in the parish churchyard at Baschurch, where there is also a plaque inside the church, which reads: "Reared in suffering thou shalt know how to solace others' woe. The reward of pain doth lie in the gift of sympathy.".[7]


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 28. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 832. 
  2. ^ General Registration Officer, Register of Births England and Wales, Index for January, February and March 1867: registration district St George, Hanover Square (Middlesex) 
  3. ^ "Agnes Hunt". Shropshire Routes to Roots. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006. 
  4. ^ "History". Institute of Orthopaedics. Archived from the original on 19 November 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006. 
  5. ^ "Timeline". Shropshire Routes to Roots. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006. 
  6. ^ RJAH Historical Factsheet no. 10
  7. ^ "Family Memorial to Dame Agnes Hunt". Shrewsbury Chronicle. 29 September 1950. p. 4. 

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