Person icon Person: Dame Kathleen A. Raven (1910-1999) DBE, FRCN, nurse


Type of entity: Person

Name: Dame Kathleen A. Raven

Date of birth: 1910 (Coniston)

Date of death: 1999 (Oxford)

Roles: DBE; FRCN; nurse

Source of information: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; National Register of Archives


Dame Kathleen Annie Raven was born on 9 November 1910 in Coniston, Lancashire, the daughter of Fredrick William Raven and Annie Williams Raven (née Mason). She had three brothers: Ronald William, John Mason and Fred Smith Raven; she was particularly close to Ronald Raven (1904-1991), who became a renowned surgeon. She was educated at Ulverston Grammar School, then trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and the City of London Maternity Hospital. She qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN) in 1936 and as a State Certified Midwife (SCM) in 1938.

Starting as Night Superintendent at St Bartholomew's in 1937, she then became Ward Sister, Administrative Sister, and Assistant Matron, before moving to the post of Matron at the General Infirmary, Leeds, in 1949. At Leeds she met and later married John Thornton Ingram in 1959 (Physician in charge, Dermatological Department, Leeds General Infirmary, and Lecturer in Dermatology, University of Leeds, 1927-1958). From 1950-57 she was an Internal Examiner for the Diploma of Nursing at the University of Leeds.

In 1957 she left the LGI to take up her appointment as Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health (later the Department of Health and Social Security). She became Chief Nursing Officer in 1959, taking over from her predecessor Dame Elizabeth Cockayne, a post she held until her retirement in 1972. She became DBE in 1968.

After her retirement she served as a Civil Service Commissioner (1972-1986), and acted as Chief Nursing Adviser to the Allied Medical Group from 1974-1986, making in the latter role many trips to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. She was also involved with various committees and associations, notably the Council of the Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association (1974-1989), and, from 1992, as Vice President of the Epsom College Royal Medical Foundation. She became a Fellow of the Royal College Nursing in 1986, and received honorary degrees from the Universities of Keele (1992) and Leeds (1996).

In her later years she continued work to influence practices in nurse training, and also wished to set up a chair in clinical nursing at the University of Leeds. The first Dame Kathleen Raven Professor in Clinical Nursing post was appointed in 1997, and the chair continues to the present day. She died on 19 April 1999 in Oxford and was buried in the same grave has her husband at St Paul’s Church, Wingrave, Buckinghamshire.

Source of information: Sheila Quinn, ‘Raven, Dame Kathleen Annie (1910–1999)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 25 April 2016]; Who's Who, 151st edition, January 1999.

Related people and organisations

John T. Ingram John T. Ingram (Family)

Leeds General Infirmary Leeds General Infirmary (Associative)

Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association (Associative)

Ronald W. Raven Ronald W. Raven (Family)

Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College (Associative)

St. Bartholomew's Hospital (London) St. Bartholomew's Hospital (London) (Associative)

In our catalogue (as creator or owner)

MS 1721: Kathleen Raven Archive Archive Collection: MS 1721: Kathleen Raven Archive

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