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Blue plaque to be installed at former Altrincham home of “inspiring” nurse who was WW1 prisoner of war

By Josh Peachey at

A blue plaque will be installed at the former home of a First World War nurse this week after her “inspiring story” was discovered by Trafford Council’s Local Studies team last year.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has funded the plaque as part of its work to mark the contribution the North West has made to both nursing and medical history.

The plaque will honour the work of Altrincham nurse Marie Margaret Netherwood and will be unveiled at her former home on Ashfield road at 2pm on Friday.

An article titled “Nurses Experiences – Altrincham Lady’s Adventures at The Front” was published in the Altrincham, Hale and Bowdon Guardian on October 2nd 1914.

The story was about a group of eight nurses, including Netherwood, who spent six weeks on the front line of the war in Belgium before being captured by the Germans as prisoners of war.

The Duchess of Sutherland went with the eight nurses to Belgium

Netherwood and her fellow nurses were released on the condition that they would not return but it didn’t take long for her to head back to Belgium to continue her work on the front line.

In the 1914 article, Nurse Netherwood “speaks of thrilling experiences, and some of the sights have been so horrible, that she declares, she is unable to mention them.”

Jill Colbert, Corporate Director for Children, Families and Wellbeing at Trafford Council, said: “It is only fitting that we honour Nurse Netherwood with a lasting tribute in Trafford. She was an amazing woman whose inspiring story deserves to be remembered along with her important contribution to nursing.”

Marie Netherwood lived at 6 Ashfield Road (on the left)

Estephanie Dunn, Regional Director at the RCN, added: “We are very proud of our nursing heritage and history and we are all aware of the stories of nurses Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell and Mary Seacole. However, it is an honour to be able to mark a local lady whose contributions are little known.

“Having lived in Altrincham and trained in Birkenhead, her roots were firmly in the North West and she decided to take her skills and bravery to the front line following a short spell working in London. We feel very strongly about officially recognising her contribution with the plaque.