Nurse Sylvia Geraldine Richardson was born to Thomas Manesseh and Inez Geraldine Richardson on November 29th, 1909. As a young girl she always had the desire to become a nurse. After her early studies she started her nursing career in 1932 at the nursing care facility known as The Cottage Hospital. While there she became the assistant matron. In 1938 she left Bermuda once again to attend Lincoln Hospital in New York where she trained in Senior Surgery and Obstetrics after completion of these studies she returned home and went back to the Cottage Hospital where she was placed in charge of Midwifery and assistant in training students interested in the nursing field. From 1942-1947, Nurse Richardson fulfilled District and Private Duties about the Island. She later joined the Department of Health in 1947 to become the first black nurse to be employed in that department.
In 1957 Nurse Sylvia trained as a Health Visitor and School Nurse at Battersea College in London, England upon her return she visited mothers with newborns and encouraged them to attend a ‘Clinic’ which was operated at Grace Methodist Church in Pembroke East. She was also a school nurse around the East End of the Island.
Nurse Richardson was not only noted for her nursing ability, she was also a pianist. In her younger years she played at the movie theatre, accompanying the silent motion pictures until the talkies came on the scene. She taught piano to interested students and also hosted Bible Studies at her home. She enjoyed her church worship and became organist at Chapel of Ease Church for many years. In 1978 she was inducted as a Church Warden into St. Peter’s Church St. George’s by the serving Bishop of Bermuda. She had a great personality and enjoyed being around people and she was an excellent hostess.
Her hobbies were playing music, travelling, gardening and story telling about family history. In 1955 she was awarded the British Empire Medal for Meritorious Service in Nursing. In 1974 she was honoured by The International Women’s Year Coordinating Committee for her outstanding achievement in the community. Nurse Sylvia Richardson left us on May 20th 1994. She was an outstanding and lovely person who will never be forgotten as it was with great honour and privilege that on January 28th 2007, a new state of the art residential home for the elderly in St. Georges ‘The Sylvia Richardson Care Facility.’ was dedicated in her name.
Submitted by Joy Wilson-Tucker Bermudian Heritage Museum remembering
Bermuda’s Great Black Personalities