District Nursing

The need for better rural health care was clear in the wake of  influenza and measles epidemics in Sawrey and the Hawkshead District. Beatrix enlisted the help of  her friend and neighbor, Emily Fowkes, to establish a Queen’s Nurse to serve the area. Despite some resistance, the effort was successful and Nurse Filkin came to the district in December 1919. However, by 1924 Nurse Filkin needed to be replaced as she was worn out from her duties. Beatrix campaigned for Celia Edwards, formerly from Lancashire, to fill the position. Potter was successful and Nurse Edwards, who was well liked, would serve the community for nearly a decade.


Autographed letter signed Beatrix Heelis to Mrs. [Celia N.] Edwards

Letter signed Beatrix Heelis to Mrs. [Celia N.] Edwards, 1924

The letter from Beatrix to Nurse Edwards confirms Edwards’ appointment as the Queen’s Nurse for Hawkshead. It details the desired start date, travel arrangements, and reimbursements.Beatrix also discusses Edwards’ predecessor, saying that Nurse Filkin “always had a quick tongue, but there can not be a kinder hearted woman...I would not write all this but, only you are sure to hear plenty of grumbles about poor Nurse Filkin.”