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Making the Rounds: Stories of Workhouse Nurses Told in Textiles

Scissors and bandages made from textiles

About the Making the Rounds exhibition

Explore over 150 years of workhouse nursing through new textile art by Connie Flynn, alongside the stories of nurses who worked there.

Nurse Eileen Olive Woods standing outside in her nursing uniform holding a baby
Nurse Eileen Olive Woods at Gressenhall Public Assistance Institution, c.1932 ⓒ Norfolk Museums Service

Between 1777 and 1948, Mitford and Launditch Union Workhouse - now Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse - was home to some of the most vulnerable people in rural Norfolk. Its purpose was to provide accommodation, food and work for 'paupers' who did not have enough money provide for themselves.  The NHS had not yet been created, and many people turned to the workhouse because of illness, old age, disability, mental illness, or as a safe place to give birth. The day-to-day care of the sick and vulnerable inmates fell to just a handful of nurses. They were often overworked, undertrained, and isolated.  

This exhibition is the result of a year-long collaboration between Norfolk-based artist Connie Flynn and volunteer researchers at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. Drawing on over 60 new nurse biographies and 150 years of welfare history, this captivating exhibition interweaves beautiful textile art pieces and the archival sources that inspired them.  

For this exhibition we are pleased to offer 50% off admission for NHS workers until 31 May 2024 (discount is for ID holder only; not valid in conjunction with any other offers). 

We may ask you for proof of eligibility for free or discounted admission. 

Content warning: please be aware that parts of this exhibition mention death in childbirth and suicide.

Book tickets to a gallery talk and textile workshop led by artist Connie Flynn through our event search.

Short film

Watch a film made by East Norfolk Sixth Form students about researching workhouse nurses.

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