NHS 75: 50 years of the NHS in Shropshire for a Windrush nurse

Mary Jane Brown

On the occasion of the NHS's 75th anniversary, a former nurse who spent 50 years working for the organization reflected on its expansion.

Marjorie Brown, then 17, moved away from her family in Trinidad and Tobago to attend nursing school in Shrewsbury.

The grandmother, who is now 75, has thought back on the difficulties she initially encountered and the value of the NHS.

On July 5th, 1948, the public healthcare system was established in England.

Marjorie Brown
The day Ms. Brown left Trinidad to begin a new life as an NHS nurse in Shropshire, this picture was taken.

In 1965, the future nurse was finishing up her O Level exams in her hometown of Sangre Grande, Trinidad and Tobago's northeastern region.

In November, she left her parents and nine siblings behind and applied to move to the UK to pursue training and employment at the Cross Houses Hospital in Shrewsbury.

She told Radio Shropshire, "We were led to believe that the training was better, it's a better country, and there's a better chance of moving forward.

"I didn't know when I would see my parents again, so it was a significant step. ".

Nurses at Cross Houses Hospital
Cross Houses Hospital in Shrewsbury, which closed in 1988, was where she worked and lived.

Three days before her 18th birthday, in December, the ship anchored in Southampton, England.

She then took a train to Birmingham before continuing on to Shrewsbury.

"The assistant matron was like a mother to the girls who came from abroad," the woman claimed.

She would wake us up in the morning, make sure we had our uniforms, were awake for our meals, and led the way. She was always there for us.

When we first began working at Cross Houses, it was difficult because two people had to physically lift people into and out of the bath because we lacked the modern equipment to do so. ".

Mrs. Brown, who now resides in Leegomery, said that despite being physically demanding, her career in healthcare was "the good days.".

She was making £10 each month at the time.

Marjorie Brown
The grandmother has kept pictures from her first days in the UK and now resides in Leegomery.

The former nurse continued, "I left my family home and came to a country that I knew nothing about, so it was a little bit sad.

"I felt at home, I felt like there was part of Trinidad there too because there were more girls from Trinidad there. ".

Since its founding in 1948, the NHS has offered all UK citizens access to healthcare, developing into the largest publicly funded healthcare system in the world, serving the needs of more than 66 million people.

Marjorie Brown
She moved to the NHS to begin a new life after leaving her parents and nine siblings behind in Trinidad and Tobago.

Mrs. Brown claimed that she originally intended to stay in the UK for five years, but that her plans changed after meeting her husband and beginning a family.

"I now have a British passport, and I have called this place home for 57 years. ".

She reflected on the NHS and said, "We all have issues, but it's better than other nations.

"In Trinidad, where I'm from, you have to pay for everything, and the outcome isn't always great if you don't have the money to pay for it.

. "

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