A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
When the First World War broke out, the suffragettes suspended their campaigning and joined the war effort. For pioneering suffragette doctors (and life partners) Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson that meant moving to France, where they set up two small military hospitals amidst fierce opposition.
Yet their medical and organisational skills were so impressive that in 1915 Flora and Louisa were asked by the War Ministry to return to London and establish a new military hospital in a vast and derelict old workhouse in Covent Garden's Endell Street. That they did, creating a 573-bed hospital staffed from top to bottom by female surgeons, doctors and nurses, and developing entirely new techniques to deal with the horrific mortar and gas injuries suffered by British soldiers. Receiving 26,000 wounded men over the next four years, Flora and Louisa created such a caring atmosphere that soldiers begged to be sent to Endell Street. And then, following the end of the war and the Spanish Flu outbreak, the hospital was closed and Flora, Louisa and their staff were once again sidelined in the medical profession.
The story of Endell Street provides both a keyhole view into the horrors and thrills of wartime London and a long-overdue tribute to the brilliance and bravery of an extraordinary group of women.
This is the best book I've read about the First World War since Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth...With her impressively focused research and eye for human detail, Wendy Moore has produced an unforgettable microcosm...this fascinating book is a microcosm of early 20th-century Britain at its very best - and its very worst. -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham ― The Times
Rarely is a book so important, so timely...vividly and meticulously written, Endell Street is a masterpiece to stretcher straight into a major film studio...[an] unmissable, thrilling read. -- Philippa Stockley ― Evening Standard
Fascinating, carefully researched... Moore is superb at describing the medical advances that resulted in seven research papers by Endell Street doctors being published in The Lancet, among the first ever by women. ― Guardian
Moore has scoured archives and diaries to produce a meticulously researched history of this extraordinary institution.... By writing this splendid book, Moore has ensured that the efforts of these pioneering women will never be forgotten. ― Literary Review
Meticulously researched, written with élan and wit, Moore's account comes at just the right time... [it] reminds us that people can rise to an occasion, that the biggest advances - for medicine, for humanity - can come during the toughest times, as a result of the toughest times. It reminds us that great courage and great ingenuity are possible even when the world feels very dark. ― New York Times
Informative, compelling and poignant, Endell Street is a forgotten story superbly told. ― Times Literary Supplement
An absorbing and powerful narrative...Moore has an eye for detail that brings her story to life. ― Wall Street Journal
Endell Street is an absolute delight. Wendy Moore has performed an incredible feat of historical detective work, and the result is a gripping account of courage and determination in the face of death. It is impossible not to love the suffragette surgeons as they fought for the wounded abroad and for women's rights at home. -- Amanda Foreman
How can a spectacular story like Endell Street just disappear? Luckily for us, it fell into the hands of one of our finest biographers. Wendy Moore's rich storyteller's voice has brought back the lives and achievements of these brave and brilliant women. -- Andrea Wulf, author of THE INVENTION OF NATURE
The story of the extraordinary women who ran the 'Suffragettes' Hospital' is visceral, timely, urgent and spellbinding. Wendy Moore's book is utterly involving and deeply thought-provoking, and all I can do is urge you to read it. -- Helen Castor
Few authors write as colourfully and compellingly about the past as Wendy Moore. In her deft hands, the horrors of the First World War and the heroic efforts of the suffragette surgeons are conjured back to life. Meticulously researched and beautifully executed, Endell Street is an important book that shows Moore to be the masterful storyteller that she is. -- Lindsey Fitzharris, author of THE BUTCHERING ART
Endell Street is an extraordinary story, and beautifully told. -- Anita Anand
About the Author
Wendy Moore is a freelance journalist and author of four nonfiction books on medical and social history. Her second book, Wedlock, was a Channel 4 TV Book Club choice and a Sunday Times no 1 bestseller. She lives in London.