TitlePapers of Miss Eva C E Luckes (1854-1919), Matron of the London Hospital, 1880-1919
Administrative historyEva Charlotte Ellis Luckes was born on 8 July 1954 in Exeter, Devon into an upper middle class family. Her father, Henry Richard Luckes, was a banker who had established a comfortable home for his family in Newnham, Gloucestershire. Miss Luckes was the eldest of three daughters and was educated at Malvern, Cheltenham College and Dresden. After finishing her education she returned to Newnham to help her mother run the house and visit the sick of the parish. It was this that developed her interest in nursing.

It appears that the family moved a number of times. By 1857 they lived in Stroud, Gloucestershire. In the 1861 census she is living, with her family in Ross, Herefordshire, and records show that the family were still there in 1867. The family had moved to Coleford, Gloucestershire by 1870 and Lydney, Gloucestershire by 1876.

Miss Luckes began her trainng Middlesex Hospital in September 1876, but left after three months as the work as too strenous. She completed her training at Westminster Hospital in August 1878. She worked for a period as night sister at the London Hospital, before becoming lady superintendent at the Manchester General Hospital for Sick Children, Pendlebury. After serving for a short period at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, Miss Luckes successfully applied for the position of matron at the London Hospital. She was 24 years old.

Miss Luckes instigated a series of reforms to improve the standard of nursing at the London. These included the provision of better accommodation and meals, improved training and a regular series of lectures. She also reduced the number of hours the nurses worked.

Miss Luckes was very much against the introduction of a statutory register of trained nurses, and the grounds that the essential qualities of a good nurse would be subordinate to theory and exams. She had an ally in Florence Nightingale, and letters between the two can be found at RLHPP/LUC/1.

Miss Luckes published two books that were based on the lecutres she gave to the nurses. Both ran into multiple editions. Papers regarding these publications can be found at RLHPP/LUC/2-3

Miss Luckes's health deteriorated as she grew older. She suffered from arthritis, diabetes and cataracts, and during the final years of her life she was confined to a wheelchair. She died on 16 February 1919. Her ashes were laid to rest behind a plaque on the north side of the St Philip's Church, now the Medical Library for Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Access statusOpen
Arrangement of the recordsThe collection is arranged as follows:
RLHPP/LUC/1 - letters from Florence Nightingale and transcripts of Miss Luckes' replies

RLHPP/LUC/2 - papers relating to her publications and press cuttings

RLHPP/LUC/3 - letters to Miss Luckes, principally about her publications

RLHPP/LUC/4 - miscellaneous items, such as commonplace books and address book
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