SO6514 : Plaque on the clock tower, Cinderford

taken 10 years ago, near to Cinderford, Gloucestershire, Great Britain

Plaque on the clock tower, Cinderford
Plaque on the clock tower, Cinderford
Muriel Powell was born in Cinderford on 30th October 1914. She was a former matron and Chief Nursing Officer of St. George’s Hospital in London.
Muriel was one of seven children born to Wallace and Annie Powell between 1906 and 1926. Wallace Powell was a stonemason who set up his own business around the turn of the century with £10, which he had borrowed from his mother. The company flourished and was known throughout the Forest as W.G.Powell & Sons Ltd. His son Fred eventually took over the business. Wallace built a large house on the edge of Cinderford with a view to selling it, but no-one came forward to buy it so Wallace moved his family into it. They had a large garden and so like other Forest families they grew their own vegetables and kept a pig and a goat.
All the children attended St. White’s Primary School at the end of the road close to the family home. Muriel Powell enrolled in 1919 and at the age of 11 she won a scholarship to the East Dean Grammar School. In 1932 she passed the University of Oxford School cert in English, History, French, Maths, Physics, Geography and Art and in the following year she took the Matriculation examination, which she passed.
Muriel decided to become a nurse with a view to training as a missionary nurse in Africa. Muriel’s original intention had been to train at Gloucester Royal but Paul Gliddon, her vicar and mentor, felt she should go to London, to St. George’s hospital where he had been chaplain. She began her nursing career on 1st Jan 1934 and was awarded her hospital certificate with honours in November 1937.
Muriel undertook various courses after achieving her certificate including midwifery. After completing the first part of her midwifery training she went back to Gloucestershire and obtained her second part in 1939. She was involved in setting up Postlip Hall near Cheltenham as a maternity unit during the war so that mothers from urban areas could have their babies in a country setting.
After the war she went back to Cinderford for a time where she worked as a district nurse. After completing several more nursing courses, Muriel Powell applied to become matron of St. George’s hospital in 1947.
In 1962 she was awarded the CBE in the birthday honours list in recognition of her pioneer work for nursing and in 1968 she was awarded a DBE in the New Years Honours list in recognition of her work on the Salmon Committee.
At the end of her life Dame Muriel Powell bought Quay House in Newnham on Severn, which brought her back to her beloved Forest of Dean again in 1976. She developed Alzheimer’s disease at a time when not much was known about this and her condition deteriorated very quickly Her sister had her admitted to Coney Hill hospital where she died on 8th December 1978 at the age of 64.
She achieved much during her lifetime particularly significant was her work to improve the organisation of the in-patient’s day in hospital, her career as a role model of leadership in nursing and her mentorship of others within the profession.

Notes adapted from : Muriel Powell remembered. A profile of her life. By Elizabeth Scott (St. George’s nurses league) and supplied to me by Averil Kear.
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SO6514, 161 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 17 March, 2008   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 18 March, 2008
Plaque   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 656 140 [100m precision]
WGS84: 51:49.4566N 2:29.9794W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SO 656 141
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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