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She was born in Cambridge into a wealthy, Evangelical Christian family with a strong military background. It was due to her father’s military role that she spent much of her childhood moving home, from the ‘family seat’ in Fahan, Donegal to Mauritius, to Bonn in Germany and to Dublin. In 1848 she settled in Stratford-upon-Avon for her schooling.
Following her father’s death in 1850, Agnes went back to Donegal to look after her sick mother and younger brother and sister. It was here in Ireland that Agnes got her first experience of ‘nursing’, spending much time looking after the poor and sick people of the Fahan countryside.
On her return to England, Agnes worked as a Biblical missionary and in a Girls’ Dormitory school in London, but still wanted to become a nurse. In 1862, Agnes Jones enrolled in Florence Nightingale’s nurse training school at St. Thomas’ Hospital, for a year’s training programme. Agnes would strike up a long-lasting correspondence with Florence Nightingale, who called Agnes “one of our best pupils”.
Agnes Jones was the first trained Nurse to come to Liverpool in 1865 at the request of William Rathbone to care for the sick and dying in the Workhouse Hospital in Brownlow Hill. Agnes worked with the sick and dying up until she died at the very early age of 36, but she left her mark on Nursing because many of the modern day practices are based on her work.
There are a number of monuments to Agnes in Liverpool and in Ireland,