Papers of Hilda Squire

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of personal papers mainly relating to training and work as a medical social worker (hospital almoner) 1920s-1950s, and correspondence relating to historical family documents and her aunt Rose Squire. It includes correspondence, a London School of Economics Social Work exam paper (1927), lecture notes on the subject of health and hospital social work, and 2 photographs of Rose Squire.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hilda ML Squire, born in 1898, was the daughter of J Edward Squire (1855-1917) a wealthy doctor involved in public health and hygiene. Her aunt was Rose Elizabeth Squire (1861-1938) who had a distinguished career as a Factory Inspector at the Home Office. Their grandfather was William Squire (1825-1899) physician to Lord Cardigan. Hilda studied history and biology in 1915 at one of the Oxbridge colleges and in 1917 was educated at Francis Holland Church of England School, where she was Head of her school year. During 1918-1919 Hilda worked as a VAD, after which she studied for the examinations of the National Health Society. She was awarded diplomas in hygiene, physiology, child welfare and tuberculosis. Furthermore, she qualified under the Sanitary Inspectors Examination Board in 1920. Her career in health visiting started with her working at the Royal College of Saint Katherine in Poplar. She worked here for two years as an Infant Health Visitor. In 1926 Hilda was awarded a certificate in Social Science and Administration from the London School of Economics. She also gained a certificate from the Institute of Hospital Almoners. Following on from this, Hilda spent ten years working at Brompton Hospital, during the 1920-1930s, as a hospital almoner. At the same time, she was also a Tuberculosis Visitor and Secretary to the Tuberculosis Committee of the Chelsea Tuberculosis Dispensary. During [1949-1951] Hilda worked at the Maida Vale Hospital for Nervous Diseases as Lady Almoner. Whilst here she specialised in neurological illnesses, such as epilepsy. Hilda was involved with various organisations during her busy career. These included the National Association for Mental Health (1943-1953), the British Council for Rehabilitation (1947-1951), the National Association for the Paralysed (1950-1961 also a founder member), the British Epilepsy Association (1950-1951 also a founder member), the British Rheumatic Association (1953), the British Council for the Welfare of Spastics (1955) and the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for the Disabled from 1966. As a representative of the Institute of Almoners, Hilda served on the councils of the Chalfour Epileptic Colony (1948-1957), the Courtauld-Sargent concert club (1932-1936) and the Mobile Physiotherapy Service Association Limited (1956-1958). She died in 1991.

Rose Squire (1861-1938) was born in London, the daughter of William Squire, a surgeon, and his wife Martha Wilkinson. After being educated at home, she trained in 1893 as a lecturer in health and hygiene. She was the first woman to sit for the sanitary inspector's certificate, in 1894, and worked as a sanitary inspector of laundries and workshops. In 1895 she became a lady inspector of factories, working throughout the country. In 1903 she was appointed senior lady inspector, from 1908-1912 she was based in Manchester, returning to London in 1912. From 1906-1907 Squire was a special investigator to the royal commission on the poor laws. During the First World War she worked with the Ministry of Munitions, where she was involved in the promotion of good factory working conditions, and in 1918 was appointed director of their women's welfare department. She received an OBE in 1918. In 1920 she became the first woman to hold an administrative post in the Home Office. She retired in 1926 and died in 1938.

Arrangement

Arranged according to the original order of the archive: chronologically within three series.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the British Library to the Fawcett Library in 1992.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

Material left as a bequest to the British Library.

Related Material

See also letters and papers relating to Hilda ML Squire and her family (ref MS973) held at the Brotherton Library, Leeds University.