Members of the Rathbone family have been involved continuously with the Queen’s Nursing Institute since its foundation, as well as numerous other philanthropic purposes.
William Rathbone VI (1819-1902), the founder of district nursing, was a Vice-President, a joint Honorary Treasurer and the first Honorary Secretary of the QNI’s Council. He was also responsible for establishing the branch of the QNI in Dublin. He continued to be the driving force of the Institute until his death.
The Rathbone family were committed opponents to slavery (abolished in most British colonies in 1833). William Rathbone IV, the grandfather of the founder of district nursing, was a founding member of the Liverpool Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (perhaps another name for the Liverpool branch of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in 1788, a society originating in London the year before.
The niece of William Rathbone VI, Rosalind Paget (1855-1948), was appointed to be the first Inspector General of the Institute in 1890 and played a major part in setting and maintaining nursing standards through training. She remained on the Council of the Institute until 1946.