Emily MacManus

Emily McManus
Born 1886
Died 1978
Castlebar, County Mayo
Nationality Irish
Occupation Nurse
Years active 1908-1946
Known for Matron of Guy's Hospital

Emily Elvira Primrose MacManus, OBE (1886-1978) was an Irish nurse who served in France during World War I and later matron at Bristol Royal Infirmary then at Guy's Hospital in London,[1] serving at the latter during World War II.[2]

Early life

MacManus was born in London in 1886, to James and Charlotte McManus, originally from Killeaden, Co. Mayo, Ireland.[3] Though not born in Ireland, her father told her that Killeaden would always be her home.[4]


In 1908 McManus entered Guy's hospital in London as a trainee nurse. After the start of World War I she served as a nurse on the front lines in France. She treated injured soldiers in the trenches for 3 1/2 years as a Nursing Reserve Sister. McManus later wrote in her biography Fifty Years Of Nursing - Matron of Guy's, published in 1956, it was the responsibility of nurses to create homeliness in the “midst of the mud and blood, dust and death, in which they spent most of their days”.[4]

After the war ended McManus returned to London to continue working at Guy's Hospital. In 1927 she was appointed Matron of Guy's, a position she would hold until her retirement in 1946. In 1930 she was awarded an OBE for her service. She would have been in charge when the hospital had to be evacuated during the London blitz in 1940.

Later Career and Death

After the end of World War II McManus was exhausted. She retired from Guy's in 1946 and moved back to Mayo to write her memoirs. She appeared as a "castaway" on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 23 May 1966.[5]

MacManus died in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar, Mayo, in 1978, aged 92.[6] She was buried in the cemetery of St Michael’s Parish Church in Ardnaree, Ballina.[6]


  1. Fairfield, Letitia (20 October 1956). "Fifty Years Of Nursing Matron of Guy's. By Emily E. P. Macmanus. Andrew Melrose. 25s.". The Tablet. p. 17. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  2. Maddock, Fergal (27 November 2012). "Remembering the 'Matron of Guy's' - Independent.ie". Irish Independent. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  3. "The McManus Family". Castlebar News. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Emily McManus, Matron of Guy's". Women's Museum of Ireland. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  5. "Desert Island Discs - Castaway : Emily MacManus". BBC Online. BBC. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  6. 1 2 Rowley, Tom. "Emily McManus, Matron of Guy's". Women's Museum of Ireland. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
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