White cotton apron with a red cross, London, England, 1914-1918
The red cross is an international symbol for first aid. This white cotton apron with a bib was worn by a nurse working in France during the First World War. To cope with the large numbers of wounded men, many women volunteered as nurses or as VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachments) and worked in hospitals behind the front lines in Europe. Made by Harrods Ltd, the apron was donated as part of an extensive collection of nursing memorabilia belonging to Gertrude Baker (d. 1982).
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Garments worn over main garments for protection and sometimes ornamentation. Usually cover the front of the body and tie at the waist with strings, but may have a bib or shoulder straps. There are specialist types such as those containing lead to give radiological protection.