Words of Wisdom

This article was first published on the old Nurse Uniforms - Past & Present website (http://dyk.homestead.com/) around 1999-July 2018, created by Kevin Dycken. It is now offline, this is a remake in a modern look.


Here's an explanation of the cataloging system I use on the site.

AD - Images of Nurses as used in Advertisements

Nurses have been used in Advertisements for years, now. It's probably to do with their caring, trustworthy Male Fantasy Figure image. Initially, they were used exclusively in selling Healthcare products, but now they're appearing in adverts for many other products. Online Charities and Hospitals also, for obvious reasons, use Nurses in their brochures.

In the 1970s, there was an aftershave called Hai Karate, the advert's premise being that a man wearing it would be irresistible to women. Several adverts followed, where the main character, an ordinary-looking bloke, would be chased by hordes of beautiful women, always led by the same dark-haired beauty. One of these adverts was set in a hospital, and, of course, the hero was pursued by Carry On starlet Valerie Leon dressed as a nurse. Terribly sexist, I know, but I bought a bottle of the stuff, even though at that time I was only shaving once or twice per week and it stung like Hell. Needless to say, I was not instantly attractive to women. More pictures of nurses in advertising can be seen on the page: Nurses in the Media

ANG - Images from the BBC TV Series 'Angels'

Hospital dramas have always been popular with British TV audiences, current favourites being Casualty, ER and Chicago Hope. Angels ran from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, and was the first medical drama to concentrate on Nurses. These days, it's hard to find any images from the series, but it is currently being repeated on the UK Gold Satellite channel, so if any of you out there have a TV card and can get UK Gold, then I'd be grateful for any scans you can send me.

Fiona Fullerton, Lesley Dunlop and Pauline Quirke all appeared in it at some point, although by the time Pauline Quirke appeared, the uniforms had changed from those you see here to a pretty horrible pale yellow dress which made them all look like shop assistants. More pictures of the tv series Angels on the former stangelas.homestead.com site and on the Angels page on this site.

CAT - Images from Uniform Manufacturers' Catalogues

Nowadays, there are not that many specialist Nurses Uniform manufacturers left in the UK. Of those still operating, Alexandra Workwear is the largest, supplying many Health Authorities. I've compiled a list of the UK's major suppliers.

More pictures of Nurse Unifrom Manufacturers Catalogs can be seen on the Nurses in Fashion page.

The Carry On Films - notes for non-Brits

A uniquely British phenomenon, the Carry On series of films combined saucy 'Seaside Postcard' humour with double entendre, cross-dressing and not-so subtle sexual innuendo. The first film in the series, Carry On Sergeant, was made in 1958, and the last, Carry On Columbus, was released in 1992. The regular cast included Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Barbara Windsor, Hattie Jacques and Charles Hawtrey. Many well-known comics also featured, such as Frankie Howerd, Peter Butterworth and Phil Silvers.

Of the 31 films made, four were set in hospitals. These were: Carry On Nurse (1959), Carry On Doctor (1967), Carry On Again Doctor (1969), Carry On Matron (1972). Carry On Behind was not set in a hospital, but there was a scene where Kenneth Williams was taken to hospital with something painful stuck where the sun doesn't shine. Although in their heyday the Carry On films were considered risque, compared to the fare we're accustomed to today they are rather tame and definitely not politically correct. Innocent times, indeed. The uniforms the Nurses wear are right for the period, and are amongst my personal favourites.

More of the 'Carry on' pictures can be found in the Nurses on the TV page

DITH - Images of Muriel Pavlow from the film 'Doctor in the House'

This film was made in 1954 and was the first of a series based on the popular 'Doctor' books. Dirk Bogarde starred as Simon Sparrow, a medical student, and Muriel Pavlow played his girlfriend, a Nurse named Joy. Follow the hilarious adventures of Young Simon and his friends as they study to become Doctors at a busy London Teaching Hospital. All the usual medical stereotypes are here, the crusty old surgeon, the strict Ward Sister, the bumbling Medical Students and, of course, the Nurses.

It's not that funny, really. Towards the end of the film, she is promoted and gets to wear a different-coloured uniform with a stiff collar and a frilly hat. There were a few follow-ups made, 'Doctor at Large', 'Doctor in Love', 'Doctor vs Godzilla' etc, but Muriel only appears in acouple of these, and has become a doctor in the meantime. Shirley Eaton played a similar role in 'Doctor at Large', but wasn't featured as much.

More of the 'Doctor series' can be found in the Nurses on the TV page.

REAL - Images of Real Nurses

The Health Service is always in the news here in England. From Hospital Closures to Nurses Pay, there's always something relating to Nurses on the News.

All of the pictures in this category are of real nurses at their places of work, doing a wonderful job despite the problems they face. Here they are in all their glory, often looking tired and harassed, but getting on with the work at hand. They deserve our support and heartfelt thanks.

Because of the huge amount of pictures, the REAL collection is devided in: Nurses in hospitals, Nursing professions and Everything else.

TV - Images of Nurses from TV

This section contains images of Nurses taken from various TV shows and films. The Avengers is a good source of images, several you can see on this page, and is often being repeated. There are also a number of specialist Education programmes made by the BBC and The Open University, such as Scene and RCN Nursing Update, which are also useful for the odd image or two.

At around the same time that Angels was first broadcast, there was a similar programme made for Children's TV called, I think, I Want To Go Home, which was set in a Children's Hospital. I remember the Nurses wore a really smart blue zip-fronted dress with white piping around the collar and cuffs. Does anyone out there have any information?

More tv series and movies can be found in the Nurses on the TV page.

The Future

It's now January 2002 and the site is still growing. I've passed the 100,000 visitor mark, and I'm now receiving regular mails from nurses both working and retired. I've also opened a Yahoo Photo Album to show some of my larger pics. I've had the site listed under 'Nursing History' on a number of major search engines, and now the hits are averaging over 100 per day. What more can I say except 'thank you' and hope that you will stay with the site throughout the coming years.

Kev