Virtual Talk: Endell Street – The trailblazing women who ran a military hospital in WWI

Photo of woman and man at WWI military hospital

Join author and journalist Wendy Moore, who acts as a judge for the Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize, as she discusses her latest book, Endell Street (published in the US as No Man’s Land). This military hospital was run entirely by women and played a key role in the treatment of injured British soldiers during World War One. It was situated just minutes away from Franklin’s former home on Craven Street.

When the First World War broke out on 4 August 1914 dozens of women doctors offered their services – but they were told by the British Army to “Go home and sit still”. Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson refused to sit still. Both qualified doctors and suffragettes – and also life partners – they took a unit of women doctors and nurses to Paris. They ran a hospital there so successfully that the army invited them to set up a second hospital in Boulogne and then – in May 1915 – to run a major military hospital in the heart of London. Endell Street was unique. It was the only hospital within the British Army to be staffed by women – all the doctors, nurses and orderlies were female apart from a dozen or so male helpers. The women of Endell Street treated 26,000 wounded – the vast majority of them men – who were shipped back from the frontline in France, Gallipoli and elsewhere throughout the war. After the war the hospital remained open for a further year to treat victims of the Spanish flu. Endell Street became renowned as the most popular hospital in the First World War – but that did nothing to help its women pioneers when peace came.

Endell Street is out now in the UK and will be released on 28 April in the US under the title ‘No Man’s Land’. You can order your (UK) copy here and the US book is available here.

Watch the full presentation and Q&A below: