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  • Lamesha Ruddock

Young Historians Project Unveils Mural at Royal United Hospital, Bath

We at the Young Historians Project are proud to unveil the first mural for our project, A Hidden History: African women in the British health service, at Royal United Hospital Bath. When we started out this project in 2018, and began thinking about impactful, educative and creative ways of presenting this history, we became committed to the creation of a series of commemorative murals. And we are so excited that we've finally been able to deliver. YHP are also proud to have the opportunity to work with Heritage Interpreter and Bristol based artist, Michele Curtis, who painted this mural with assistance from consultant artist Nadia Lloyd. Michele is the artist and architect behind the Seven Saints of St. Paul’s creative and digital place making project, and the Iconic Black Britons initiative developed to celebrate Black British history through art.

We have been so lucky to have commissioned Michele for the mural who has been amazing, strong-willed and resilient during the mural production process. Moreover, Michele has been incredibly open during the process with the Young Historians Project team, excellently portraying the creative vision of our team of young historians. Michele said about the project:

“It's been an absolute honour to work with the Young Historians Project to create this mural and help their vision materialise. I champion this project and I'm very excited to be a part of its evolution.”

The mural features four African women who have worked within Britain’s healthcare system, and have ties to the South West of England. Princess Tsehai Selassie was the daughter of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and during their exile in Bath during the 1930s, she trained to become a registered children’s nurse. Bijou Bidwell of Gambia, was a registered nurse and state certified midwife, who also campaigned against Female Genital Mutilation. Hannah Jawara, nee Mahoney, also of Gambia, was also a state registered nurse and a feminist playwright. Providing a link between past and present in this mural, Nigeria-raised Olugbemisola Kolade currently works at the Royal United Hospital, Bath as a Transformation Support Officer.

We chose to portray both 20th century and contemporary women in this mural, to highlight the long historical presence of African women who have worked within Britain’s Healthcare Service. The mural was unveiled on Wednesday 17th November and we hope it will highlight these women and the efforts of the Young Historians Project in undertaking this project. We encourage you to visit the mural at Royal United Hospital Bath, and take in this beautiful art piece and important history in person.

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