Collecting UWL’s Covid-19 memories

UWL archives NEED YOUR HELP to record the experiences of students and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic

UWL Archives

The situation has had an impact on all our lives and we need your stories to record what life has been like during lockdown. Future generations will look back at the pandemic as a key point in history so collecting records of our experiences will be crucial to help people understand how we have all lived through these past few months.

CC. Philafrenzy

We welcome anything that you have created/collected relating to the pandemic. You may have taken photos during your daily exercise around Ealing or your own local area; perhaps you created video diaries of your studies from home, or were inspired to record musical compositions or performances. We are also interested in collecting physical artworks, social distancing notices or messages of support for key workers hung in windows. Whatever it is, we encourage you to send it to us in order to create an archive of Covid-19 memories.

We are particularly keen to focus on the following areas for collecting:

  • How the physical spaces at UWL and the surrounding area have been transformed from busy and bustling to quiet and eerie;
  • The effects on students and staff working in the NHS and social care;
  • How students have reacted to and coped with the changes of moving learning online;
  • The changes to ways of working for staff including the challenges of working from home

Please contact for further information about this project. Any material donated will be safely stored by UWL Archives indefinitely and will be available to researchers of the future. Donations containing sensitive personal information are subject to the Data Protection Act 2018.


Women’s History Month: Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu DBE, CBE, FRCN, PhD is the Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London (UWL). 

Prof. Dame Elizabeth Anionwu (UWL)

Elizabeth was the first UK sickle cell/thalassemia nurse counselor and helped establish the Brent Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Counselling Centre in 1979. Elizabeth has spent her life as a nurse and a tutor, working with black and minority communities in London. She has received a fellowship from the Royal College of Nursing and been named one of the 70 most influential nurses and midwives in the history of the NHS. 

Elizabeth was born in Birmingham in 1947 to an Irish Catholic mother and a Nigerian father who were both students at Cambridge University. Born out of wedlock Elizabeth had a tough childhood living in children’s homes for the first 9 years of her life. At 16 she became a school nurse assistant and at 18 started her training in London. In the 1970s Dame Elizabeth became a health visitor in Brent, London and had her first encounter with sickle cell anemia – a painful disease found mostly in African and Caribbean families – which at the time was often overlooked. 

Prof. Dame Elizabeth Anionwu and Charmagne Barnes, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare (UWL)


Elizabeth lived in Acton for 48 years and taught nursing at the University of West London. She founded the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice  and prior to retirement in 2007 Elizabeth was University’s Dean of the School of Adult Nursing Studies. 




Mary Seacole Statue at St Thomas’ Hospital (wikimedia: Sumit Surai)

Elizabeth was the vice-chairperson of the successful Mary Seacole memorial statue appeal and helped to raise £750,000 towards the statue which was unveiled in 2016 at St Thomas’s Hospital, London (Jamaican Mary Seacole treated British soldiers on the battlefield in the Crimean War). Elizabeth received the British Journal of Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award in March 2018, along with many other accolades throughout her career.  

Dame Anionwu has written and contributed towards many important works in the field of nursing and sickle cell anemiaElizabeth’s memoirs ‘Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union’ were published in 2016 (a copy is available at UWL’s Paul Hamlyn Library in Ealing and the Berkshire Institute for Health ref. 610.73092/ANI)

‘Mixed blessings from a Cambridge union’ by Elizabeth Anionwu, 201






UWL Archives

UWL archives hold some interesting collections of photos of nurses from the 1960s and 1970s within materials from the Wolfson School of Nursing, Westminster as well as various nursing medals from former Reading and Berkshire nursing institutions. For more information contact Here is an example of some of the images mentioned:

Wolfson School of Nursing

Wolfson School of Nursing

Wolfson School of Nursing

Spotlight on the Archive: The Wolfson School of Nursing photo and cuttings album

Black & white photo of nurses in uniform

This month’s spotlight is on a mini archive mystery. Amongst the archives of the College of Nursing and Midwifery is a set of photos and documents from the Wolfson School of Nursing. Opened in 1960 and funded by The Wolfson Trust, the Wolfson School of Nursing was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1961.

Black & white photo of the Queen Mother meeting a line-up of nurses in a ward.

The Queen Mother meeting nurses at the School, 1961

The album contains images of the opening ceremony, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Sir Isaac Wolfson and his wife Edith Wolfson. Also available to view are letters and newspaper cuttings about the opening.

Hand-written letter

A letter of thanks sent to Mrs Wolfson from a lady in waiting on behalf of The Queen Mother


“My dear Matron,

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother bids me thank you for your very kind letter. It gave Her Majesty great pleasure to open the school of Nursing. I am to tell you that Queen Elizabeth was delighted with the buildings which must be a joy to you & to your teaching staff as well as providing such ideal surroundings for the students. Your nurses looked charming, made the very best impression by their friendliness and good manners.
May I add also that I enjoyed my visit immensely and met many old friends.

Yours sincerely

Olivia Mulholland


Situated in Vincent Square, Westminster London, the Wolfson School of Nursing actually formed part of Westminster Hospital. The School was closed in 1992 and relocated in 1993 to its present site at the former St Stephen’s Hospital in Fulham Road as the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Westminster, it has to be said, is a little distance from Ealing, so the question remains; what was the connection between the Wolfson School and what is now our College of Nursing and Midwifery?

Items in the Archive from Wolfson School of Nursing

If you are interested in researching into this or are interested in viewing the collections available to consult within UWL archives (or perhaps you can shed some light on this mystery?) head to

UWL Archives

UWL Archives contains historical collections relating to the history of UWL as well as the Heathrow Archive.

The archive is based on the third floor of the Paul Hamlyn library at the Ealing Campus. Visits are arranged by appointment only, please contact the archivist in advance using the contact details on our web page: