A HIDDEN HISTORY:
African Women and the
British Health Service
In November 2018, YHP was awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We then shared our research proposal for the first time and began publicising our project through our blog and online networks. We put out a call looking for women of continental African heritage who had worked in the healthcare sector in Britain before the year 2000. YHP researchers began to meet and learn of African women whose careers in the NHS spanned decades, in fields including medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychiatry, and disability support services.
In June 2019, YHP members produced a one year update video. It captures the experiences and reflections of previous YHP members whilst researching, filming, and undergoing skill-based training for the project. It summarises the progress the group had made by that point and provides behind the scenes glimpses of an interview with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our project was severely disrupted. YHP had no choice but to pause crucial activities like documentary filming, archive visits, training workshops, speaking events, and social meet-ups. Nonetheless, our members persevered through this and transitioned to working together online. As a result, some of our oral history interviews were conducted via video call and our mural installations were postponed. Thankfully, we all remained in good health – including some of our members who were essential workers in the NHS and other sectors. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the YHP team and our interviewees that we were able to push through this difficult period and complete the project.
In July 2021, we began our project launch and unveiled the digital exhibition and documentary series the YHP team had produced. Up until this period, YHP members had volunteered countless hours of their free time – working around their personal lives, studies, and jobs to complete the project. We are incredibly proud of what we achieved!
If you have something you would like to contribute to our online exhibition, please do get in contact with us.
We would welcome the following:
Any information on the 1943 film 'Nurse Ademola' produced by the British Colonial Film Unit
Photographs taken before the year 2000 that relate to the project's theme, to add to our gallery – e.g. uniforms, women at work in a healthcare setting, graduations, etc
Newspaper clippings relating to the project's theme
Any additional information on our Early Women