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Work in Belgium

In 1907 Edith was made the first Matron of a training school for nurses in Brussels. She was given the post through the family for whom she had been governess and due to the fact that the schools founder, Dr Antoine Depage, recognised the superior training of British nurses.

This was pioneering and difficult work. There was no nursing profession in Belgium, nursing was dominated by religious institutions and they jealously guarded their role. Edith was trying to persuade middle class women that nursing was a respectable profession. She was also working in conditions that were far from ideal; the Clinique on the Rue de la Culture consisted of four town houses connected to each other only at ground and basement levels.

Progress was made and in 1910 a new well-equipped secular hospital, St Gilles, was opened and Edith was its Matron. The Rue de La Culture became the preliminary training school and St Gilles was where probationers got their clinical experience. To cope with demand for training, funds were raised to provide a better building than the Rue de La Culture Clinique. Work started on the new building in 1914.

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