"Petticoat Government" tells the story of a great Victorian charitable enterprise - the York Home for Nurses.The home combined the provision of private nursing care with free care for the 'sick poor' of the City, and was the first of its kind in the country. It was run by the Sisters of the Community of the Holy Cross, in conjunction with a 'committee of gentlemen' that included most of the famous names in York's Victorian history. The relationship between the Sisters and the committee were not always smooth; money was always tight, there were tragedies amongst the staff, and crises in the local community to deal with - floods, epidemics and a scandal involving a local doctor that made the national papers.
But the York Home succeeded in changing the lives of the poor immeasurably in the City. It's final incarnation was as a memorial to another famous York personage, Dean Arthur Purey Cust, as the Purey Cust Nursing Home.
Nearly 150 years on from its foundation, this is the story of how the provision and organisation of nursing by a community enterprise supported the citizens of York through a pivotal time in British history.