Partner Emily Selina Goodford
All Saints Churchyard Baschurch, Shropshire Unitary Authority, Shropshire, England
Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt DBE RRC (31 December 1866 – 24 July 1948) was a British nurse, who is generally recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse. She recalled with affection her lifelong partner, Emily Selina Goodford: "Had she been well-dressed and her hair done in a later fashion, she would have been an exceeddingly handsome woman. As it was she was unique." Together they established iThe Baschurch Home - Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt. Emily Selina "Goody" Goodford was the daughter of the Provost of Eton. They met in 1891, when Agnes was working in Salop Infirmary. Agnes told Emily of her plans in orthopedics, and together they worked to make this become a reality. In October they opened Baschurch Home and received their first patients, four boys and four girls. Baschurch was a pioneer to orthopedic hospitals, preventive treatments, and teaching the disabled about their new lives as cripples.
Agnes Hunt was born in London, daughter and sixth of eleven children of Rowland Hunt (1828-1878) of Boreatton Park, Baschurch, a village in west Shropshire, England, and his wife, Florence Marianne, eldest daughter of Richard Buckley Humfrey of Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire, England. She was a cousin of the Naval officer Sir Nicholas Hunt, his son being the politician Jeremy Hunt.
Hunt was brought up at Boreatton Park until 1882, then at Kibworth Hall, Leicestershire before her widowed mother took the children to Australia, where they lived on a small farmstead. She was disabled from osteomyelitis of the hip that she suffered from as a child following septicaemia.
In 1887, she returned to England and began training as a "lady pupil" nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl, Wales. She opened a convalescent home, the Baschurch Children's hospital, attached to the Salop Infirmary at Shrewsbury, for crippled children at Florence House (a family property) in Baschurch in 1900 which espoused the theory of open-air treatment.
In 1901, she sought treatment for her own condition from a Liverpool surgeon, Robert Jones. She invited him to visit the convalescent home and he eventually began travelling there on a regular basis to provide treatment to the children. By 1907, they had built an operating theatre and they introduced the diagnostic use of X-rays in 1913. In 1910 it was approved as a training school by the Chartered Society of Massage and during World War I, Florence House was used to treat wounded soldiers.
In 1918, Hunt was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her contribution during the war.
In 1919, the British Red Cross Society and the Shropshire War Memorial Fund provided financing to move the facility, renamed the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, to a former military hospital at Park Hall, near Gobowen, Oswestry. The hospital also provided training for nurses. Later, a school begun for the children developed into a training college for disabled adults, Derwen College. The hospital was used once again to treat wounded soldiers during World War II. Following an extensive fire in 1948, the hospital underwent a period of reconstruction and expansion, developing into what is now called The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.
She was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1926.
Hunt died in 1948 aged eighty-one. Her ashes were interred in the parish churchyard at Baschurch, where there is also a plaque inside the church, which reads: "Reared in suffering thou shalt know how to solace others' woe. The reward of pain doth lie in the gift of sympathy.".
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