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Collis Beckford


A lifetime in nursing, 1960 to 1998

Colour portrait photograph of Collis Beckford holding her nursing qualification.
Collis graduating from her nursing course in the United States in the early 1980s. © Collis Beckford


Collis came from Jamaica to England in 1960. After completing her training as a nursing auxiliary, she worked for 29 years in almost every hospital in Sheffield, until she retired. This extract was taken from an interview with Collis by Nikky Wilson in November 2006.

I always wanted to be a teacher or a nurse when I was little. I think I got my wish as I have ended up nursing for almost 30 years. I first went from Jamaica, where I grew up, to the United States and took my nursing auxiliary examination there. Then I came to England to join my sister in Sheffield in October 1960. Exactly a month after arriving, I passed my entrance test and started a job at the Middlewood Hospital in the psychiatric ward. From there I went on the work at Lodgemoor, then the Northern General, then the Hallamshire and Weston Park. I think Jessops is the only hospital in Sheffield that I haven't worked in.

What I always remember from those early days was how we could never be late for work. Starting a shift at 6.00am meant getting up at 3.00am so that I didn't miss the bus from town to Middlewood. And when I worked at Lodgemoor, the snow up there came as a shock. But, looking back, all my working years were good and I enjoyed this type of work.