Maggie Louisa Gaskell, Sister, Territorial Force Nursing Service
Died 6 July 1919 at 27 Cawdor Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, aged 43
Maggie Louisa Gaskell was born in Macclesfield on 28 April and baptised at Sunderland Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on 3 July 1876, the daughter of Margaret and Samuel Gaskell, a pork butcher of 79 Mill St, Macclesfield. In 1881, four-year-old Maggie was living at that address with her paternal grandparents James and Elizabeth Gaskell, her parents, and her siblings Elizabeth (5), Arthur (2) and Albert (3 months). Maggie’s mother died on 10 January 1888.
In 1891, fourteen-year-old Maggie was living at the same address with her paternal grandparents, widowed father and siblings Elizabeth (16), Arthur (12), Lily (7) and Nellie (6). Ten years later in 1901, the family was still at 79 Mill Street and Maggie’s father had married again; he and his new wife Elizabeth had three children: Sam (7), Philip (5), and Cora (1).
By 1911, Maggie had left home and trained as a nurse; she was living at Bolton Union Workhouse, Farnworth, employed as assistant superintendent nurse.
Maggie’s stepmother Elizabeth died on 27 August 1912 and her father Samuel died on Christmas Day, 1913. Both are buried in the family grave in Macclesfield Cemetery.
Maggie’s Territorial Force Nursing Service records show that she joined the TFNS as a staff nurse on 23 November 1914 and was promoted to Sister on 1 June 1915. She worked at the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester where her younger sister Lily worked as a staff nurse.
From the Rusholme and Victoria Park Archive (Military Hospitals) website:
When WW1 started in 1914 the 2nd Western General Hospital was established in Manchester where its HQ was Central High School for Boys, Whitworth Street… Initially 520 beds were provided at this site but during the duration of the war a total of 25,000 beds came under the one command. This huge number of hospital beds were scattered throughout Manchester and surrounding towns, becoming the largest military hospital in the UK…
In the area immediately around Rusholme, the government requisitioned Ducie Avenue School on the north side of Whitworth Park, the Elizabeth Gaskell School of Domestic Economy on High Street, (Hathersage Rd) and the Moseley Road school in Fallowfield. Nearby over 1200 beds were under canvas in the grounds of The Firs, the mansion built by Sir Joseph Whitworth off of Oak Drive, Fallowfield. Fairview, another large house on Wilbraham Road in Fallowfield was acquired by the Red Cross and used as a hospital with initially 20 beds although eventually 36 beds were provided.
This website includes several photographs of buildings, staff and patients at Dulcie Avenue hospital. It seems likely that both Maggie and her sister Lily served in these hospitals in the Rusholme area.
Maggie became ill in 1917 and after appearing before a medical board on 7 June 1917 was permanently invalided out of the service on 30 June 1917 due to chronic asthma and bronchitis. She was awarded silver war badge number 290610 on 3 January 1918. Her sister Lily took a month’s unpaid leave in June 1918 in order to care for her.
On 4 July 1917 the matron at the 2nd Western General Hospital, Dulcie Avenue wrote:
Miss Gaskell is a thoroughly good nurse, capable and trustworthy. She is very kind and gets on well with her patients and staff.
Maggie’s death was announced in the Macclesfield Courier on 12 July 1919:
GASKELL – Maggie Louisa Gaskell, second daughter of the late Samuel Gaskell, pork butcher, 83, Mill Street, Macclesfield, died July 6, Sunday, at 27, Cawdor Road, Fallowfield.
Maggie Gaskell is buried in family grave ref M. 9722 at Macclesfield Cemetery. The gravestone is inscribed:
… ALSO MAGGIE LOUISA GASKELL
THEIR SECOND DAUGHTER
WHO DIED JULY 6TH 1919
AGED 43 YEARS …
Sister Maggie Gaskell is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Sister of Lily Gaskell, who also served with the Territorial Force Nursing Service, died at Ducie Avenue Military Hospital, Manchester on 3 January 1919 and is buried in the same family grave in Macclesfield cemetery.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births, Deaths
Census (England & Wales): 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
Cheshire Non-conformist & Roman Catholic Registers (Find My Past): Baptisms
The National Archives, Territorial Force Nursing Service records, Ref WO 399/11433
Rusholme and Victoria Park Archive (Military Hospitals)
Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Courier: 12 July 1919