TG make Centenary Banner for Royal College of Nursing

A joining of historic forces – the Royal College of Nursing
marks its centenary with a traditional marching banner made by Townswomen’s Guilds

The start of the Royal College of Nursing’s 100th year will be celebrated with the production of a traditional embroidered marching banner. Discovering that Townswomen’s Guilds had members with the necessary traditional design and making skills, the college has been working with experienced needlewomen in the organisation to produce the banner.

“We were very flattered and absolutely delighted when the college approached us with the commission,” explains Janice Collins, TG Board Member and project co-ordinator. “We are fortunate to still have traditional  marching banner making skills within our membership. Our organisation dates back to the 1920s, with campaigning roots in the Suffragist movement. Most of our 700 Guilds across the
UK have a banner.”

The completed banner, presented to the College on 12th January 2016, was designed and made by Sue Nike, Jenny Reeves, Tricia Drinkwater and Enid Leake of the TG Berkshire Federation. “The RCN had strong ideas about what imagery and text should be included, and we took our main inspiration from a 1930s College poster. Our aim was to produce a design which draws on the history of the organisation, but was also forward looking. Whilst using our traditional skills for the making, initial designs were produced
digitally,” added Janice.

The Royal College of Nursing was founded in 1916 as a professional organisation for trained nurses. It has evolved into a successful professional union and for a century the RCN has pioneered professional
standards for nurses, in their education, practice, and working conditions. Today the RCN has around 430,000 members, and is uniquely acknowledged as the ‘voice of nursing’ by both the government and the public. With its history in mind, the college felt that the commissioning of a new banner would be a fitting start to the centenary.

The College was particularly happy to have the involvement of the popular women’s organisation, which has a history almost as long as its own. “It’s been wonderful to experience the enthusiasm of Janice and the TG
members,” explains Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing. “We feel very fortunate to be able to access those amazing traditional skills and to have been able to produce a wonderful artifact which honours the hundred years’ history of RCN and will also take us forward. It is worthy to take its place among the remarkable banners which previous generations have produced.”

Following January’s presentation, the RCN Centenary Banner will travel to nursing establishments around the UK.

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