Emily and The Lady Dudley Nurses Scheme
About Lady Dudley
Lady Dudley was the wife of a controversial Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, William Humble Ward, Third Earl of Dudley, who served from 1902 to 1905. In 1903, concerned at the extreme poverty in the congested district boards of the west, she began to fund raise to provide a district nursing service for the counties along the western seaboard. The link with the viceroy ensured the nursing associations were seen as fashionable charities, with fundraising led by the old ascendancy families who held garden parties in aid of the Jubilee and Dudley nursing schemes.
When Lady Dudley realised the extreme poverty in Ireland she was determined to do something to combat it through providing nurses to the worst affected areas. The West of Ireland including Achill was the prime area of her attention. She was so moved with what she saw in these areas that she felt compelled to write to the New York Times appealing for donations to fund the scheme she set up.
May I be permitted through the medium of your paper to appeal to the Irish people in America for a share of their charity on behalf of an undertaking which would, I think; recommend itself to them were they better acquainted with the necessity for it? I speak of the fund for the establishment of district nurses in the poorest parts of Ireland which has been in existence for nearly a year.
When Emily married in 1905, she more or less retired from nursing as a career but always supported nursing causes in her local community. When she moved to Achill she befriended the local district nurse, Miss Comerford. Emily was always quick to help where needed and when a local collector for the Lady Dudley Scheme was no longer able to continue in his post Emily Weddall took over from him. “Mrs Weddall has most kindly consented to take his [Mr. Hector] to take his place… We are thankful to Mrs. Weddall for coming to our help.”
Having Emily as the collector for the Lady Dudley Scheme, proved a great asset as Emily had a talent for being influential and was also well respected. “Mrs. Weddall, who was assisting Nurse Comerford with gifts; she was also instrumental in ‘obtaining some subscribers”.
The New York Times, March 14, 1904, Section , Page 8
The Irish Times – Monday, May 16, 2011, An Irishman’s Diary
Muintir Acla, Winter 1999, Sile A. NicAodha, p. 31.
Photo of Lady Dudley: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Rachel_Dudley_circa_1900.jpg