Jean Billingham

Occupational Health Nursing Sister, 1977-1981

Jean Billingham discusses her role as Occupational Health Nurse, 1977-1981

In this audio clip Jean reminisces about her time as Occupational Health Nursing Sister, 1977-1981.

Jean trained at Bristol Royal Infirmary as a State Registered Nurse and worked in General Practice in North Devon before moving to Gloucester to start Endoscopy Department at Gloucester hospital. She wanted to become a District Nurse, however, when an advert for the role at Fielding’s appeared in The Citizen a colleague drew her attention to it.

“Dr Cookson came in one morning and said ‘Jean, you may want to be a District Nurse, but I think I’ve found something that’s going to be a lot more interesting … It’s an advert from Fielding and Platt and they want an Occupational Health Nursing Sister.  They’re prepared to pay for your training and I suggest you take this advertisement from the Citizen and apply”

Jean was interviewed at Fielding’s by Works Director Mr John Pugh. She trained one day a week at Cheltenham to become an occupational health nurse.

Welcomed on Shop floor

Jean went out on to the shop floor to learn what those working there did. This was important to her so that she could appreciate how this would affect their health care.

She was also involved with first aid and training Fielding’s first aiders. As she recalls she “built up a very active little group of First Aiders”. However, Jean recalls that there were “not a lot of accidents at Fielding and Platt.  I think they were a very careful workforce”.

The management were “extremely co-operative” with her so when someone had been off sick with some condition, the managing director Mr Lindsey-German would come and interview Jean to ascertain whether the person could return to normal work or whether they would need to return on “light duties”.

Some duties took her away from factory when she visited members of the workforce in hospital and when sick at home.

Surgery Lights

Jean recalls that it was necessary to work with the Electrical Department to install lights outside her surgery in the works to prevent others from entering when she was with a patient.

“I found for a while, though, that people would just come barging into the surgery whether I had a patient or not!  So the Electrical Department was involved, under the charge of Monty Blunt, to put in lights for me on the waiting room door.  We constructed a nice little waiting room out in the corridor just behind the main surgery.  We had a red light for ‘you must not enter’ and a green light for ‘you can come straight in’.”

In a pickle!

Although Jean didn’t get involved with the social and sporting activities, she but make a lot of pickles and chutneys which were sold by Wally Windridge in Dispatch. The money went towards parcels for retired Fielding and Platt personnel at Christmas.

Jean worked at Fielding’s until 1981 when the new personnel manager Mr Stephen Hall told Jean about her impending redundancy. Jean was part of the big redundancies that happened in 1981. However, she applied to Engelhardt’s at Cinderford and was immediately accepted to work there before joining ICI, after which she retired.

If you remember Jean, the Nurses or Nurses’ Station at Fielding’s, or any of the places or people featured on the page please share your memories by clicking on the words Add a comment about this page below.

Click on the hyperlink to learn about Jean’s husband

Comments about this page

  • Jean was a lovely friend to me, and so was Brian her husband. So lovely to see her smiling face today…. it would have been her birthday. Happy birthday Jean.

    By Heather (07/03/2018)

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