Spotlight on Stafford: Mary Ann Turner, Matron of Stafford Asylum (1832-53)

Staffordshire's Asylums

The senior female member of staff at the new Stafford
asylum was the Matron. This role did not need any medical or nursing training,
but the occupant was expected to set a good example to her staff and also to be
a good bookkeeper and submit monthly accounts. The welfare of all the female
staff, domestics as well as attendants, was her other main responsibility. In
the early 1830s the Matron had about six female attendants working under her,
which although a paltry number to deal with around ninety female patients, was
actually an improvement on the three female attendants employed when the asylum
opened.

The first Matron had been the Medical Superintendent John
Garrett’s mother, and by the early 1830s a Mrs Lockley had taken over. Ill
health forced her to retire, and a replacement was needed urgently. No
application letters survive from 1832, and so it seems that…

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