Former nurses remember iconic 35-year-old painting

Former nurses remember iconic 35-year-old painting

25 May 2022

Former nurses remember iconic 35-year-old painting
A team of former NHS nurses have been presented with special reproductions of an iconic 35-year-old painting.

The nine nurses - who all worked at St Mary’s Hospital in the 1980s - take centre stage in the artwork, which was painted by Clara Vulliamy.

The painting, Sir Roger Bannister Launching the St Mary’s Hospital Train, was based on a photograph showing doctor and athlete Sir Roger Bannister unveiling a St Mary’s Hospital nameplate on a train at Paddington Station in 1986.

The vibrant painting is in our museum-accredited hospital art collection and includes images of nurse Debby Kinsey and eight of her former colleagues.

Debby said: “We were student nurses at St Mary’s  when the original photo was taken. It was our final theory block before our nursing finals which was why we were chosen to go down to the station for the naming of the train by Sir Roger Bannister. The original photograph in the newspaper, The Paddington Mercury, became our set photograph and most of us had a copy.”


Ahead of a reunion last November, Debby and her colleagues asked for reproductions of the artwork to remember their time as student nurses at St Mary’s.

“On one of our visits we saw the painting and were amazed to recognise ourselves,” Debby explained. “It seemed a great time to remember our original beginnings in nursing.”

Today, Debby and her former colleagues frequently meet up and remember their time as nurses at St Mary’s.

"It seemed fitting that when I left London for the last time, I was aboard the St Mary’s Hospital train!”

Former nurse at St Mary's Hospital

One of her former colleagues said: “I so enjoyed my training at St Mary's with all its ups and downs and have made lifelong friends, very proud to be called a St Mary’s nurse and it seemed fitting that when I left London for the last time, I was aboard the St Mary’s Hospital train!”

Another said: “Meeting up with those I trained with is a delight and a privilege. The memories are mixed from tear jerking to hilarious. Patients and colleagues made it a life affirming experience.”


We were delighted to work with printer Art4Site to deliver 12 reproductions of the painting with the artist’s permission.

Find out more about the works in our museum-accredited art collection here.

Nurses in the set at St Mary’s Hospital include: Debby Morgan, Louise Barker, Sally Prior, Catherine Groves, Nicky Ostley, Stephanie Spencer, Kathy Morris, Fiona Luckhoo, Bridgitte Allen, Jane Dinsdale, Rose Lucas, Sonia Rawlings, Sarah Lawrence, Amanda Howell, Elizabeth Welch, Felicity Foulds, Gabrielle Ainsley, Ali Ross, Fiona Fox, Alison Ripley and Bridget Kelly.