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Avis Hutt was a foundling, left outside Paddington work house in 1917, and taken in as a baby. Her adoptive parents were a barmaid called Elizabeth and a pawn shop worker named Henry. As soon as she was old enough, Avis became a nurse at Mile End Hospital. There she met surgeon and first husband Ruscoe Clarke and nursed Oswald Mosley’s fascists and their opponents in the same ward. “The fascists were reading their paper Action on one side of the ward and the anti-fascists were on the other reading The Worker,” she recalls.
She also worked at the Royal Free and Middlesex hospitals and, as she became politicised, Avis and Ruscoe Clarke (see separate entry) developed ideas for a socialised health service. During the war, Avis worked as an industrial nurse in an aircraft factory, witnessing the advances being made in blood transfusions, antibiotics and laboratory services through wartime public planning. In the run-up to the creation of the NHS, she spoke at factories and on platforms for the Socialist Medical Association.
In the immediate post-war period, she and Ruscoe worked in Birmingham, Avis as a health visitor and in the peace movement of the cold war period. After Ruscoe’s death, she married Alan Hutt (see separate entry) and would remain in London until the present day, where she lives in KentishTown.
Sources: New Journal Enterprises 11 July 2005,
Camden New Journal 16 December 2008