Miss W.P. Solomon

Solomon.pngMiss W. P. Solomon. Winifred Patience Solomon, 57, (1875-1958) was the Matron of Colindale Hospital, Hendon and a highly respected member of the nursing establishment.[1] The review in the British Journal of Nursing says it all: “… the kindly personality of the Matron, Miss W.P. Solomon; half an hour’s talk suffices to show that she is interested in every member of her staff, enthusiastic in her desire that they should gain all the expert knowledge for the acquirement of which the hospital provides such abundant material, and her sympathy with, and interest in her nurses obviously extend to their recreations as well as their professional work.”[2]

And if it is reliability you are after, she is the one person on this table for whose identity I am most certain.


Can you help find us a better photograph!  The above could well be her – it is taken at her hospital – but we cannot be certain it is her and it’s hardly a close-up!


If we follow our proposed pattern she would have been seated beside her contemporary Dame Janet Campbell and one of the younger of the guests, Miss Gross or Miss Blunt.


The character reference above suggests she is thinking about someone else rather than about herself.


Winifred was born in the village of Tonge, near Sittingbourne, Kent, in on 1st October 1875, (baptised 27th October), the sole daughter of Kent farmer Alexander Solomon and his wife Susanna Fletcher, daughter of a coal merchant – Winifred had four brothers, one older three younger. From an early age Winnifred had 2 n’s in her name (see her 1885 sampler below[3]) but later changed to the single n. She was educated at Corham School, Kingsley, Alton, Hants – a boarding school also attended by her brothers


She trained for her life’s work at University College Hospital, London (Cert 1899-1902) and in 1901 she was living at 113 Gower Street London, a Hospital Sister. In 1911 she was a Hospital Sister at the South Western Fever Hospital, Landor Road, Stockwell (today the rebuilt Lambeth Hospital) and in 1922 at Joyce Green Hospital, Dartford, Kent. The latter, now demolished, was built as an isolation hospital to replace 3 fever ships moored in the Thames Estuary.[4] It was opened in 1903 – in 1918 it housed 1140 Russian refugees thought to have been in contact with smallpox and in 1926 electricity was installed – possibly when Winifred was there.

Winifred moved to Colindale Hospital in Hendon probably in 1928 where she stayed until retirement, sometime between 1940 and 1943, during WW2. Indeed Winifred lived above the shop, so to speak, her address also being the Colindale. In the 1939 census it was an address she shared with another 292 people, – staff and patients of course.

Winifred was first listed as a registered nurse on 21st April 1922 (the date was later adjusted to 22nd of July) – being the year that the first list of nurses was made by the new General Nursing Councils – these were changing times. In she was a member of the R.R.C. (Royal Red Cross) and in 1931 she represented the Matrons’ Council of Great Britain at the AGM of the National Council of Nurses of Great Britain.

Colindale Hospital.png
The Colindale Hospital (M.A.B.) Hendon


In 1934 Winifred was Vice President of the Matron’s Council of Great Britain and Ireland; in 1935 onwards she was the President of the League of Fever Nurses; in 1936 she passed the examination on First Aid in Chemical Warfare (a sign of the times); and in 1938 became a member of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Nurses of Great Britain. In the records she was always referred to as simply Miss W.P. Solomon – perhaps a Matron with the name of Patience was to be avoided, though it seems to be been a fitting description.[5]

On retirement she moved to Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, in 1943 living at Manor Farm, Stanley Pont Large, in 1946 at Gretton Hill Farm, Gretton.

Winifred died on 6th July 1958 when living at Flat 18, Bouverie House, West Folkestone, Kent, her estate in the hands of her brother Edward, also a farmer.[6] [7] [8] [9] [10]


[1] Miss Solomon, Hutchinson’s Woman’s Who’s Who 1934, Hutchinson & Co. London.

[2] The Hospital World : Colindale Hospital, Hendon, The British Journal of Nursing September 1928 page 234

[3] Image source from Ancestry, bought in an auction in Adelaide Australia in early 2019.

[4] Joyce Green Hospital

[5] AGM of National Council of Nurses of Great Britain, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 79 December 1931 p331

[6] Annual Meeting of the Grand Council of the National Council of Nurses, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 83 December 1935 p322 

[7] British College of Nurses, Passing of examination on First Aid in Chemical Warfare, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 84 March 1936 p64 

[8] AGM of the Leave of Fever Nurses, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 85 May 1937 p131

[9] Reception by Joint Fever Nurses Association at the International Congress of Fever Nurses, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 85 August 1937 p209

[10] Executive Committee Report, British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 86 November 1938 p294.

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