The archive consists of the records of the London Committee of the Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH): authorisations, correspondence, files, circular letters, telegrams, postcards, photographs, statements of accounts, balance sheets, cheques and counterfoils, reports, lecture notes, lists of donors.
Records of the Scottish Women's Hospitals
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service (1914-1919) was part of the suffrage response to the First World War. At the outbreak of the First World War, a large number of the existing suffrage societies put their administrative skills at the disposal of the war effort. The Scottish Federation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, at the suggestion of Dr Elsie Inglis, put forward the idea of female medical units to serve on the front line. The War Office rejected the idea, but nonetheless private donations, the fundraising of local societies and the support of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies financed a number of units staffed entirely by women. The organisation's headquarters were in Edinburgh throughout the war, with committees also in Glasgow and London, working closely with the London office of the Croix Rouge Francaise. The Fawcett Society was particularly involved with the London Unit of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. The first unit mobilised established a 200 bed Auxiliary Hospital at Royaumont Abbey in Dec 1914. In Apr 1915, Dr Inglis herself was at the head of a unit based in Serbia. By Jun 1915 SWH had responsibility for more than 1,000 beds with 250 staff including 19 women doctors. The Austrian offensive of that summer led to their camps being overrun and a number of the staff including Inglis herself being taken prisoner, only to be released after negotiations. By the end of the war there were fourteen Scottish Women's Hospitals in France, Serbia, Russia, Salonica and Macedonia. Inglis herself was ill with cancer by 1917 while working in Russia. She and her unit were part of the retreat of forces to Archangel and she was evacuated to Newcastle on the 25 Nov 1919 of that year, only to die the following day. The Scottish Women's Hospitals work continued until the end of the war.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.
This material came to The Fawcett Library with material from the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship.
Other Finding Aids
Fawcett Library Catalogue
Alternative Form Available
The Women's Library uses Mary Evans Picture Library (MEPL) to provide images from its collections, see www.maryevans.com.
For a copy of the attached image please contact MEPL, quoting the MEPL image reference 10091525. [Original is held at The Women's Library TWL.2000.62]