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WW1 nurses book
Start reading Mary's book.

World War One Stepping Hill nurse`s book


Mary Hicks worked as a nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in the first part of the 20th century. In 1906 she started a journal where patients who Mary cared for recorded their thoughts about staying in the hospital through sketches, poems, messages and doodles.

When the First World War started, Stepping Hill became a military hospital which cared for wounded soldiers coming back from the front line. From 1914, most of the entries in Mary’s book came from soldiers. The pages reveal a mix of emotion and humour on the trials of the war, with many writing about missing their families and loved ones. 

We have created this online version of the book so that you can take an artistic glimpse into the lives of both soldiers and nurses at the time.

About the book

Nurse Hicks left nursing when she married Ernest Bromley in 1920. She had four sons with her husband during the next decade, and died in 1965.

Since Mary Hicks left Stepping Hill, nothing is known of what became of her book over the next 96 years. During that time her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren had no idea of its existence, and no-one at the hospital was aware of it either.

This all changed when a chance Twitter message sent from a second hand bookstore, 285 miles away in Launceston, Cornwall alerted Stepping Hill staff members to the book. Hospital staff retrieved the book and then turned detective to track down the family.

The hospital tracked down Sally-Anne Bromley, the granddaughter of Mary Hicks, who was living just four miles away in Cheshire.  She was delighted to have been united with the book, which has given her an insight into her grandmother’s life.

This story featured on Granada Reports in July 2014 - watch the full story here.

© Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 2018. Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport, SK2 7JE. 0161 483 1010