Scope and Content

The principal interest in Bertha Broadwood's papers relates to the The Cottage Benefit Nursing Association. She founded her first Association in 1883. It comprised a group of parishes on the Surrey-Sussex border and was centred on Ockley. At this time some of the more densely populated parishes were able to employ a parish nurse, but in the poorer, rural areas there was insufficient demand and not enough money to make this worth while or practicable. A firm believer in self-help, Bertha Broadwood chose the benefit principle whereby for a small annual subscription parishioners in the scheme could have one of the nurses employed by the Association, when required, for a reduced fee. Non-subscribers could also have a nurse, if available, on payment of a higher fee. Other groups of parishes formed similar associations.

The other principle chosen by Bertha Broadwood was that of residence: in ordinary cottage cases the care of the children and cottage is what is quite as much required as the nursing of the patient, 'we do not want women as nurses who only wish to do actual nursing' (-/1/202). Thus Bertha Broadwood adopted the Holt system, first established by Mrs and Miss Holt of Barningham Hall twenty years earlier, whereby the nurse lived in the cottage with her patient, or in a neighbouring cottage, and cared for the family. The system therefore became known as the Holt-Ockley System and residence was looked upon as its great strength compared with systems of district nursing which were being worked elsewhere. It is clear that in rural areas, where the distances were too great for a nurse to walk to several cases in one day, and where other help was harder to obtain, the Holt-Ockley System fulfilled a great need. One farmer requested a nurse for his wife who could also look after the dairy (see -/1/42)!

An account of the System was published by Louisa Hubbard in her magazine Work and Leisure in 1885 (see -/1/22) and mention was made in the Englishwoman's Year Book and Directory for 1888. In 1887 Bertha Broadwood published her pamphlet called Nurses for Sick Country Folk (see -/1/27A), which described the Holt-Ockley System. The booklet was in great demand and similar nursing associations sprang up in other parts of the country. By 1894 there were thirty six affiliated associations.

In 1890 a special training scheme for cottage nurses devised by Bertha Broadwood was adopted by Sister Katherine Twining at the St Mary's Nurses' Home at Plaistow (see -/3/112-183). This home was run by Plaistow parish church to serve the local sick poor and was the principal training ground for cottage nurses until 1900 when Bertha Broadwood set up her own Nurses' Training Home at Bury House in Lower Edmonton (see -/3/184-331). Other cottage nurses were trained at hospitals, the first scheme being with the City of London Lying in Hospital (see -/3/1-90).

In 1891 the pressure of correspondence and administration (exacerbated presumably by her father's illness, her domestic responsibilities as the eldest unmarried daughter, with motherless nephew and nieces, and an increasing involvement in the family firm of John Broadwood and Sons) led Bertha Broadwood to set up the Cottage Nurses' Registry under the secretaryship of her cousin Mrs Charlotte Digby, who then handled the distribution of nurses and arranged for their training (see -/2/1).

The first public meeting of Cottage Benefit Nursing Associations was held at the house of Lord Brassey, 24 Park Lane, on 3 July 1893 (see -/2/90-177). The following year it became necessary to set up a Central Office and premises were rented at 12 Buckingham Palace Road. Miss Louisa Dean-Pitt was appointed secretary. The associations working the Ockley system now banded together under the title Affiliated Benefit Nursing Associations. Annual conferences were held from 1894, reports and leaflets were published (-/2/1-49) and the number of associations continued to grow. In 1903 the Central Office was moved from 26a Buckingham Palace Road (where it went in 1901) to Denison House in Vauxhall Bridge Road, and in 1906 the association was re-organised to form one large Cottage Benefit Nursing Association with all cottage nurses enrolled as members.

A letter in the accumulation of 5 August 1921 (see -/2/386B) is written on headed note paper which gives the name Mrs Oliver-Bellasis as honorary secretary and director. Bertha Broadwood's name appears as foundress. It is probably the case that the Surrey branches were absorbed into the Surrey County Nursing Association (set up in 1907, see -/2/831-839). A register of nurses, 1916-1918, relating to the Cottage Benefit Nursing Association, which gives details of each nurse with testimonials, name of person and branch which engaged her, where trained (frequently Bury House) and subsequent career, was found with the papers of the Surrey County Nursing Association (see 352/3/4). A letter of 1929 (see -/3/331E) makes it clear, however, that the Cottage Association was still in existence at that date. The contention of one of Bertha Broadwood's loyal supporters that her name should rank with that of Florence Nightingale is perhaps exaggerated (-/2/169) but the Holt-Ockley System of cottage nursing was nevertheless a significant achievement.

These papers are an important survival for a period of nursing history during which nursing was establishing itself as a respectable and skilled profession for middle-class women. Bertha Broadwood's insistence on using, for the most part, women of the cottage class, who were not highly trained, but who were kind and competent and acceptable to the class of patient they mostly nursed, ran counter to the trend of the times which was to have lady nurses. These, Bertha Broadwood contended, would not be acceptable to cottagers and would mostly not agree to live in the patient's home.

Parallel to the growth of cottage nursing on the Holt-Ockley system was the development of district nursing, which received major impetus from the foundation of Queen Victoria's Jubilee Nursing Institute in 1889 out of the fund raised by women and given to the Queen to celebrate her Jubilee in 1887. The Institute was set up to educate and maintain nurses to visit and tend the sick poor in their own homes. The service was virtually free and the class of nurse was superior to and better educated than Bertha Broadwood's nurses. Their training was more rigorous and took longer. Naturally the two systems conflicted with the supporters of one criticising the work of the other, although Bertha Broadwood herself maintained that there was a need for both kinds of nurse. These rivalries are reflected in the correspondence (see -/2/400, 768-779).

Although her nurses were of the cottage class the members of her committees and her superintendents were not and Bertha Broadwood had the support and voluntary help of many of the ladies of the county as well as of her own family. Two Surrey families were closely involved: Sophy Wedgwood of Leith Hill Place acted as treasurer to the Ockley Association and Mrs Elizabeth Lee Steere as secretary. Many other county families are also represented in the correspondence. The work of running the Association also brought Bertha Broadwood into contact with leading medical persons of the day. There is correspondence with Sir Rutherford Alcock (-/2/134, 168, 212, -/3/14-44, 102) and there are references to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (-/2/474, 742, 876, 885, 974) and her letter of invitation to Bertha Broadwood to the Women's Jubilee Dinner (see -/2/779D). There is a substantial amount of material reflecting the controversy surrounding the attempt to secure recognition of the profession of midwife by a system of state certification and enrolment which finally became law with the passing of the Midwives Act in 1902 (see -/2/734-767). A similar controversy surrounded the attempt to get state registration for nurses, which Bertha Broadwood opposed, not achieved until 1919, which is also reflected (see -/2/395, 892, 893, 897B). Reference to an attempt to set up an association on the Ockley system in the Isles of Scilly (-/2/564B), a request for advice for someone starting a nursing system at the Cape in South Africa (-/2/562) and a reference to nurses for the colonies (-/2/277) indicate how far Bertha Broadwood's influence reached.

There are a number of interesting references to work done by women and women's organisations. A women's printing society was used by the Association to print its quarterly leaflet The Cottage Nurse (-/2/80) and a printed circular about the Englishwoman's Year Book and Directory was printed by the Misses Law of 245 Vauxhall Bridge Road (-/2/222). There is also a press cutting about a society for women printers (-/2/973). The National Union of Women Workers (-/2/299), the Ladies' Union of Workers (-/2/863), the Surrey Women's Unionist Association (-/2/754), the College of Women Workers for the Church of God in South London (Greyladies) (-/2/859, 860), and a Technical Training School for Women (-/2/974) are all mentioned.

Other events and aspects of the social and political climate of the period receiving mention are: the anniversary of the foundation of Cuddesdon College (-/1/659), the agricultural depression (-/2/399), dislike of dissenters (-/1/44-54, -/2/583, 665-668), dislike of High Church tendencies (-/2/536-539), the effect on the availability of nurses of the introduction of factories into Kettering (-/2/593), the Leith Hill Music Festival (-/2/918-954) and the advent of the 'flying machine' 1907 (-/3/320). There is also a letter written by the Princess Christian in 1889 (-/3/26). Bertha Broadwood's own lack of sympathy for the women suffragists is shown in some notes for a lecture or article (-/1/1158), and her opposition to the increase in state control in a draft letter of c.1908 (-/2/971). A letter of 1894 contains the rather surprising statement 'It is a very rare thing for a village woman to die in childbirth' (-/2/407).

The papers were found in considerable confusion and have been sorted into those relating to the Ockley and Dorking Associations, those relating to the work of the Central Office and those relating to training. Many of the letters were undated and an attempt has been made to give an approximate date, in a few cases this is based only on proximity to other dated papers before sorting. Where an original bundle of clearly related papers survived, it has been preserved as such; where a bundle was clearly the tying together of miscellaneous mostly unrelated letters this has been given a letter and the contents dispersed where appropriate. Each of the lettered bundles can be reconstituted by collecting the items marked in the list with the letter. See Appendix 2 of detailed catalogue.

The remnant of some kind of filing system or register of correspondence used at the Central Office survives in the coloured numbers written on many of the letters. These have been noted and a list can be found in Appendix 1 of detailed catalogue. Their significance remains obscure.

For a detailed summary of the contents of the papers see below:

In 1884 the Ockley Benefit Nursing Association comprised Capel, Charlwood, Coldharbour, Holmbury St Mary, Holmwood, Ifield, Newdigate, Oakwood, Ockley, Rudgwick, Rusper, Slaugham, Warnham and Westcott. Smallfield (part of Burstow) was added in 1885. The 1886 report includes Abinger and omits Charlwood. In 1887 Bolney and Nuthurst, St Martin's Dorking, Shere and Gomshall were added and the following year Lower Beeding was added. Balcombe and Slinfold appear in 1889. By 1891 Abinger had disappeared (see -/1/38). In 1887 Dorking became a separate association (see -/1/230) comprising Abinger, Dorking, Holmbury St Mary, Shere and Westcott. By 1898 Ockley included Colgate. In 1904 the Sussex parishes left the Ockley Association and joined a Sussex group. Capel, Coldharbour, South Holmwood, Newdigate, Oakwood, Ockley and Smallfield remained (see -/1/1-12).

2185/BMB/1/ Annual reports and publications 1885-1911

2185/BMB/1/ Notebooks and diary 1885-1893

2185/BMB/1/ Ockley Benefit Nursing Association, honorary secretary's correspondence 1881-1902
The post of honorary secretary to Ockley Benefit Nursing Association was held by Mrs Elizabeth Lee Steere.

2185/BMB/1/ Dorking Benefit Nursing Association, honorary secretary's correspondence 1889-1893
The post of honorary secretary to Dorking Benefit Nursing Association was held by Mrs Priestly Mary Bovill. For letter of Constance Bovill about her mother's illness, 1893, see -/1/342.

2185/BMB/1/ Correspondence with committee ladies and others 1877-1910

2185/BMB/1/ Correspondence with nurses 1885-1912

2185/BMB/1/ Dorking Nurses' Home 1892-1896
For other records relating to the setting up and closure of Dorking Nurses' Home, 1893-1895, see -/1/190-193, 373, 375, 391, 392, and -/2/700.

2185/BMB/1/ Nurse order forms and reports 1892-1896
This section comprises printed forms filled out by committee ladies for each case attended by a nurse giving name of patient, class or occupation, malady, name of doctor and nurse, length of nurse's stay, result (eg good recovery, convalescent, died) and remarks on the nurse. These were mostly found with the printed report forms with lists of named subscribers, quarterly payments to the treasurer and report of cases undertaken with same details as the nurse order forms. Blank report forms were sent out addressed to individual committee ladies and returned with other forms and treasurer's account forms [for which see -/1/1024-1151] to Bertha Broadwood for compilation of the annual report. Where the account forms were attached they have been kept in this section. For other nurse order forms see - /1/465, 855. For other receipts see -/1/563, 564, 569, 585, 593, 594, 654, 677, 753

2185/BMB/1/ Accounts 1883-1910
The following forms were not found in any order and have here been arranged by year. Occasional covering letters with other items attached to account forms have been left in position. Committee ladies' cash books were sent quarterly to the Nursing Association treasurer for checking. For other accounts see -/1/381, 382, 506, 944, 956-962, 983, 988, 992, 999, 1003, 1012.

2185/BMB/1/ Fund raising events 1889-1906

Following the success of the Ockley Benefit Nursing Association letters of enquiry came to Bertha Broadwood from other parts of the country and similar associations were set up. Bertha Broadwood's help was sought in finding nurses and arranging their training. At first she dealt with most of the correspondence herself but in 1891 she enlisted the help of her cousin, Charlotte Digby, to run a Cottage Nurses' Registry from her home in Cambridge, to which Associations could apply for nurses and which acted as a liaison between the nurses and the training establishment and kept a register of their qualification and contracts of employment. After the first meeting in 1893 of Benefit Nursing Associations at Lord Brassey's, in 1894 the Associations working the Ockley system banded together to join the Affiliated Benefit Nursing Associations with a central office at 12 Buckingham Palace Road. This later moved to No 26a in 1901, and in 1905 was transferred to Denison House, Vauxhall Bridge Road [see -/2/353]. In 1906 the Affiliated Benefit Nursing Associations also reorganised to form one large Cottage Benefit Nursing Association with branches and all cottage nurses were enrolled as members. A quarterly publication The Cottage Nurse was then started. Some documents in this section pre-date the Central Office due to the fact that before it was formed Bertha Broadwood herself managed the central administration

2185/BMB/2/ Annual reports and publications 1891-1911

2185/BMB/2/ Administrative papers 1892-1909
2185/BMB/2/79-88 comprised an original bundle among Bertha Broadwood's papers.

2185/BMB/2/ Public meetings and conferences 1887-1907
Papers relating to the first public meeting of Cottage Nursing Associations, held at Lord Brassey's house, 24 Park Lane, on 3 July 1893, reference -/2/90-177, were found mainly in two bundles, C and D.

2185/BMB/2/ General office correspondence 1890-1921
Correspondence includes letters of Charlotte Digby, secretary to the Cottage Nurses' Registry, 1891-1894; Louisa Dean-Pitt, secretary and treasurer to the Affiliated Benefit Nursing Associations, 1894-1907; H Francis Blain who succeeded her in 1907; and Geraldine Tronson, office secretary from 1905.
2185/BMB/2/ Secretaries' correspondence 1891-1909 The regional organising secretaries named in the list of Affiliated Benefit Nursing Associations (-/2/13) of 1896 were Lady Margaret Bickersteth for the north of England, Miss Mary Whitmore-Jones for the south west, Miss Blanch Harris for the south east and Lady Mackenzie of Gairloch for Scotland. Mary Whitmore-Jones also handled publications.

2185/BMB/2/ Other Benefit Nursing Associations and outside enquiries 1883-1910
For printed leaflet on Wilton Beacon Benefit Nursing Association, 1891, see -/2/389. For printed leaflet on Clitheroe Nursing Association, 1892, see -/2/539. For printed rules of Northallerton Rural Nursing Association, c.1893, see -/2/566. For printed report of Cotswold Benefit Nursing Association, 1892, see -/2/125. For leaflet and rules of Rye District Benefit Nursing Association, c.1893, see -/2/177. For printed rules of South Hunsley Nursing Association, 1892, see -/2/483. For sixth annual report of Camberley, Yorktown, Frimley and Bagshot Benefit Nursing Association, 1899, see 2180/-.

2185/BMB/2/ Nurses' correspondence 1886-1905

2185/BMB/2/ Midwives' Bill and supply of midwives 1892-1907
From 1890-1902 various attempts were made to bring an Act of Parliament to regulate the practice of midwifery and remove the dangers of women in childbirth from the attentions of ignorant and unhygienic village 'gamps'. These culminated in the Midwives' Act of 1902 which required that all midwives should be certificated and enrolled [for papers relating to the Act see -/2/746]. Before the Act the role of the midwife was often confused with that of the monthly (maternity) nurse who was qualified to nurse confinement cases, but was often asked to deliver poor mothers who could not or would not pay the doctors' or midwives' fees [for copy letter of Bertha Broadwood on this subject see -/2/767]. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that in practice the monthly nurse often had to deliver women in remote areas there being no one else available, and this was permitted under the emergency rule providing a doctor or midwife had been officially engaged. Moreover this was often done with skill and care. In addition not all village 'gamps' were ignorant and dirty; some were competent from long experience and many cottagers preferred the services of a neighbour. During the discussions preceding the act Bertha Broadwood, following her motto 'Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien', contended that the country would not have enough midwives by 1910 (the date of full implementation of the act) and many women would be worse off if the monthly nurses, unable to qualify as midwives, were to be prohibited from delivering their babies [for draft letter of Bertha Broadwood on this subject see -/2/756]. A further complication in the earlier period was the opposition of some of the doctors to the establishment of a recognised midwives' profession, which they looked upon as an encroachment on their own sphere of activity, sometimes linked with loss of fees. For other letters and papers relating to midwifery, nurses' attendance at confinements and the Midwives Bill and Act, see -/1/796, -/2/58, 214, 233, 234, 252, 407, 474, 534, 540, 836, 837, -/3/83, 125

2185/BMB/2/ Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute and the Rural Nursing Association 1890-1906
A scheme for use of Queen Victoria's Jubilee Fund was set out in a letter to The Times by Sir Rutherford Alcock: foundation of an institute for educating and maintaining nurses for the sick poor in their own homes; to be connected with St Katharine's Hospital, Regents Park (f1148, given charter by Queen Philippa - special purpose visitation of sick poor). Provisional committee: Duke of Westminster, Sir Rutherford Alcock, Sir James Paget, Lord Lyttleton, Mr Bonham-Carter, Mr Theodore Acland, Countess of Rosebery, Mrs Henry Grenfell, Mr Caine, Mr and Mrs Craven and William Rathbone. The Metropolitan and National Association, founded in London in 1874 with the aid and support of William Rathbone and Florence Nightingale, was recognised as the Central Training School for district nurses in London. On 20 September 1889 a Charter of Incorporation was granted. This is generally regarded as the origin of district nursing and local associations were set up which were affiliated to the QVJI; the nurses were enrolled as Queen's nurses. Because of the Institute's higher standard of training and the tendency to recruit women of higher social standing and better education, there was occasional conflict between Queen's nurses and Ockley nurses [see -/3/366]. The latter were often more acceptable in rural areas where the cottagers were more ready to accept women of their own class and where distances between cases made the Ockley system more practical. For other references to the Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute, see -/2/28B, 89, 118, 120, 121, 128, 165, 168, 186, 346, 373, 394A, 400, 414-416, 420, 792-794, 796A, 800, 804, 810-813, 823, 825, 866, 988, -/3/100, 101, 138, 345.

2185/BMB/2/ Dorset Health Association 1892-1898
For other references to Dorset Health Association and Lady Baker see -/2/21, 95, 169, 398, 419, 530, 555 and -/3/144.

2185/BMB/2/ Shropshire Nursing Federation 1902

2185/BMB/2/ Sussex County Nursing Association 1902

2185/BMB/2/ Surrey County Nursing Association 1907

For records of Surrey County Nursing Association see 352/-. For press cutting reporting annual meeting, 1909, see -/2/997.

2185/BMB/2/ Miscellaneous health organisations 1877-1910

2185/BMB/2/ Accounts 1890-1906

2185/BMB/2/ Fund raising 1895-1910
For leaflet advertising 'A Cafe Chantant' in aid of Plaistow, May 1901, see -/1/478; for receipt for £30, proceeds of Cinderella Dance, 1905, see -/2/361; for leaflet re entertainment in aid of Bury House, 1901, see -/3/307.

2185/BMB/2/ Press cuttings 1887-1909

2185/BMB/2/ Envelopes, addresses and visiting cards 1890s

2185/BMB/3/ TRAINING OF NURSES 1882-1931
Papers relating to the training of cottage nurses were found scattered throughout the accumulation and have been gathered together for convenience as forming a distinct part of the Association's work both in the Ockley period and after the setting up of the Registry and Central Office, though not separately administered.

2185/BMB/3/ Training in hospitals 1882-1931

2185/BMB/3/ Training fund 1890s
For other references to fund raising, see -/2/913-972.

2185/BMB/3/ St Mary's Nurses Home, Plaistow 1889-1903
For other references to training at Plaistow see -/2/214, 230, 243, 414-416, 417, 527, 536-539, 759, and -/3/100.

2185/BMB/3/ Bury House, Lower Edmonton 1899-1931
Bury House, Edmonton, was purchased as a cottage nurses' training home, when it was no longer possible to use Plaistow, in joint names of Miss Gertrude Conant of Lyndon, Oakham and Miss Bertha M Broadwood of Lyne. Miss Hogg was appointed Lady Superintendent by the committee of management on 2 April 1900. Training in nursing service was under a teaching staff of 2 lady nurses. Miss Hogg moved in on 7 May and the house was formally opened on 11 May. The executive committee comprised Robert Boxall MD; Albert Brassey MP; Christopher Childs MD; Francis Pryor, honorary treasurer; Professor W J Simpson MD and St Barbe Russell Sladen; Bertha Broadwood was honorary secretary. Seventeen nurses were trained in the first year compared with ten at Leytonstone's Essex Cottage Nurses' Training Home. Annual entertainments were held to raise funds. For other references to Bury House, 1899-1908, see -/2/301, 310, 320, 321, 344, 358-360, 366, 367, 423, 733, 960, 965, 970. -/3/184-220 comprises administrative reports and papers; -/3/221-280 comprises correspondence between Louisa Hogg, Lady Superintendent, and Bertha Broadwood; -/3/281-331 comprises general correspondence and papers.

2185/BMB/3/ Proposed training home in Scotland 1897-1901
For other references to the proposed training home in Scotland, 1899, see -/3/221-224.


2185/BMB/5/1/ Receipted bills 1880s-1900s
2185/BMB/5/2/ Advertisements, catalogues, and price lists 1885-1910
2185/BMB/5/3/ Personal finance 1877-1903
2185/BMB/5/4/ Correspondence and papers relating to French villa 1889-1895
2185/BMB/5/5/ Receipted bills etc relating to French villa 1889-1893
2185/BMB/5/6/ Memoranda, notes and sketches including Bertha Broadwood's autobiographical notes c.1868-1902
2185/BMB/5/7/ Household and gardening papers 1870-c.1909
2185/BMB/5/8/ Verse by Bertha Broadwood and other compositions 1876-1930
For other verses, 1874-1906, see -/4/149/25, -/7/1/3, -/7/7/22,23.
2185/BMB/5/9/ Lyne Bazaar account 1882
2185/BMB/5/10/ Dance programmes, concerts, plays, and social occasions 1871-1911
2185/BMB/5/11/ Miscellaneous photographs 1933
2185/BMB/5/12/ Games [?late 19th cent]-[c.1911]
2185/BMB/5/13/ Journal of Bertha Broadwood, aged 12 1858
2185/BMB/5/14/ Journal of Bertha Broadwood, aged 17 1863
2185/BMB/5/15/ Journal of Bertha Broadwood, aged 18 1864
2185/BMB/5/16/ Pocket diaries 1870-1934
Early diaries includes brief entries describing social engagements such as riding and attendance at dances. In 1874, a journey to France is recorded, in which she remarks on the 'horrors of universal suffrage': 'country in a deplorable state' (Jun). On 23 Jul 1875, she records a trip to the House of Lords: 'Uncle L showed us over'.
2185/BMB/5/17/ Diary of Bertha Broadwood on cruise to West Indies 1902
2185/BMB/5/18/ Notebook 1876
2185/BMB/5/19/ Notebook of tours in France 1898
2185/BMB/5/20/ Alphabetically arranged memoranda book [c.1896]-1898
2185/BMB/5/21/ Records of letters 1879


2185/BMB/7/ POLITICAL PAPERS 1871-1932

2185/BMB/7/1/ Women's organisations including the National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage 1872-1912
Bertha Broadwood took a highly active interest in many political issues, as evidence among her papers shows, from at least her mid 20s. A jocular letter from her cousin Herbert Lee questions in 1871 if she has 'gone in for female suffrage yet ('I am sure you would have a right to Independence (bread and cheese) & a Vote' (2185/BMB/4/32/2), and although the prompt for his remark is unclear, she would soon address the issues, during the campaign for the Women's Removal of Disabilities Bill (1872-1876). By 1873 she had decided on her opposition to women getting the vote, a view which drew on her suspicion of democracy and her strong antipathy to socialism (or 'Radicalism'): see -/-/8/10/1-7 for her detailed expression of her thinking. The Women's Liberal Unionist Association was formed in May 1888 and Bertha joined shortly afterwards (see -/7/2/ below), later becoming the honorary secretary of the local branch. Primarily created for women to express their opposition to Home Rule in Ireland, the Association also admitted the significance of 'many social problems which will probably be dealt with in parliament before long…the condition of the working classes and what the State can or cannot do to improve that condition...important and difficult questions...must not be looked at from the point of view of mere Party advantage. The condition of the working classes.. the welfare and position of women, the education and protection of children, and other kindred social questions…are subjects on which women have considerable opportunities of informing themselves, and a clear duty to bring such assistance as they can to right judgement on them…Those who join an Active Branch will soon find they are learning more and growing to care more about politics' (2185/BMB/9/3). Bertha continued actively to involve herself in political issues. In 1908, the Women's National Anti Suffrage League was formed: for newspaper cuttings relating to this year, not clearly attributed to Bertha but among the Broadwood archive, see 2185/V21). By early 1909 Bertha was on the committee of the Dorking branch (2185/BMB/7/1/29-31). Her stance aged in her 60s was apparently unchanged from the 1870s, although the violence of protests hardened her opposition to inappropriate influence 'either inside or outside of P[arliament]' and reinforced her lack of feelings of commonality with her fellow women, as she claimed most right-thinking women would not want the 'vote to use, when their flighty sisters might abuse' (2185/BMB/7/1/28). By early 1909, the Unionists had decided to support women's suffrage (2185/BMB/7/1/27); Bertha continued to work for the Unionist cause however. During the same period, Bertha had unsuccessfully attempted to take on a role of local influence in offering herself as a candidate for Capel parish council: the 'Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser' of 19 Mar 1910 reports that she gained no votes in the election (no record of her candidacy is catalogued here). Between 1909 and early 1912, Bertha is documented participating in the Dorking branch of the Anti Suffrage Association, both in surviving papers and reports of the 'Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser'. It is not known whether her involvement continued after that time; she did persist with Liberal Unionism. Bertha's public output is difficult to assess as she appears to have written to newspapers as 'a patriot' or 'a woman', rather than giving her name. She is quoted as present at Anti Suffragist meetings, and once quoted delivering a vote of thanks to Hilaire Belloc as speaker, saying the the suffrage movement had been engineered by socialists ('Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser', 27 May 1911). It is unclear the extent to which Bertha was responsible for Anti-Suffragists' refusal to address debates with suffragist organisations, although she was apparently anonymously accused of such views in 1910 (285/BMB/4/17/62); the controversy continued in 1913 when she does not appear to have had any role (cited in K Atherton, 'Suffragettes, Suffragist & Antis: the fight for the vote in the Surrey Hills').

2185/BMB/7/2/ Women's Liberal Unionist Association and National Political Union 1891-1910
For other references to the Women's Liberal Unionist Association, 1893 & c.1911, see -/7/3/39-60,66, and -/7/11/39.

2185/BMB/7/3/ Correspondence and papers relating to Ireland 1880-1916

2185/BMB/7/4/ Correspondence and papers, relating to Bertha Broadwood's study of land tenure 1871-1896
For other references to Bertha Broadwood's study of land tenure, 1880-1881, see -/4/3/14,18, -/4/25/9 and /6/28/17. For draft letter of Bertha Broadwood to Le Play, 7 Dec 1880, see -/4/16/21.

2185/BMB/7/5/ Papers relating to India 1872-1886

2185/BMB/7/6/ Anti-disestablishment papers [c.1885]

2185/BMB/7/7/ Papers relating to education, the Education Bill of 1906, and religious instruction in schools 1891-1912

2185/BMB/7/8/ Notes and press cutting relating to the eight hour working day [?1890s]
In 1886 Tom Mann published a pamphlet entitled What a Compulsory Eight Hour Day Means; in 1903 the TUC passed a resolution in favour of the eight hour day; in 1908 the Coal Mines Regulation Act restricted underground working hours of miners to seven hours.

2185/BMB/7/9/ Printed matter relating to the Sunday closing of premises licensed to sell intoxicating liquors 1892

2185/BMB/7/10/ The Old Age Pensions Bill 1892-1893

2185/BMB/7/11/ Papers relating to anti-socialism and the Free Labour Movement 1881-1912
For postcard signed W Collison, 1911, see -/7/14/11.

2185/BMB/7/12/ Papers relating to free trade and tariff reform 1903-1910

2185/BMB/7/13/ Papers relating to the budget of 1910, 1909-1910

2185/BMB/7/14/ Papers relating to the strikes of 1911, 1884-1912
-/7/14/6-14 originally formed one bundle.

2185/BMB/7/15/ Notes on the Agadir crisis 1911

2185/BMB/7/16/ Correspondence relating to a proposed motor road and the threat of invasion 1914-1916
For other references to the proposed motor road, 1914, see -/4/24/26 and -/6/36/49.

2185/BMB/7/17/ Press cuttings, including the Dreyfus case 1893-1912

2185/BMB/7/18/ Miscellaneous political subjects 1873-1932

2185/BMB/8/ OTHER INTERESTS 1842-1929

2185/BMB/8/1/ Rusper Village Club and Reading Room, and Free Rural Readers Union 1874-1892

2185/BMB/8/2/ Genealogy 1890s

2185/BMB/8/3/ Capel Village Hospital 1895-1933
For minute book of Capel Hospital, 1866-1933, see 2915/1.

2185/BMB/8/4/ Capel and Rusper Schools 1872-1908
For other references to Capel School see -/4/32/2, -/6/1/3,4, and -/6/19/3; for other references to Rusper School see -/4/29/26, -/4/32/2, -/5/8/10, and -/6/16/14-24.

2185/BMB/8/5/ Book titles 1890s

2185/BMB/8/6/ Archaeology and antiquities 1875-1910

2185/BMB/8/7/ Architecture 1868-1900s
For plans ?of Capel School in Bertha Broadwood's hand, ?c.1870s, see -/8/4/3-4.

2185/BMB/8/8/ Language study [?late 19th cent]

2185/BMB/8/9/ Popular Lecture Association 1885-1900s
For other references to the Popular Lecture Association, 1886, see -7/3/6,7.

2185/BMB/8/10/ Bundle of essays, addresses, letters and notes 1872-1876

2185/BMB/8/11/ Miscellaneous interests 1868-1919
-/8/11/3-17 originally formed one bundle.

2185/BMB/8/12/ Travel 1842-1929

2185/BMB/9/ BOOKS 1807-1940

2185/BMB/10/ JOHN BROADWOOD AND SONS 1869-1931
For an account of the events reflected in these papers see D Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, Chapter VIII. 2185/BMB/10/30-38 comprises correspondence and papers, 1892-1897, relating to Walter Stewart Broadwood's resignation from the partnership in 1889 and a proposal that he should accept a reduction in his claim for capital due to the firm's threatened insolvency after Henry F Broadwood's death.

Administrative / Biographical History

Bertha Marion Broadwood (1846-1935) was born at Bryanston Square on 27 March 1846. She was the fourth daughter of Henry Fowler Broadwood, effective head of the firm, and his wife Juliana Maria, daughter of Wyrley Birch of Wretham Hall, Norfolk. She died two days before her 89th birthday in 1935. Her eldest sister, Katherine, married Edmund Craster of the Bengal Civil Service and died in India in 1874; the second, Augusta, died at the age of 6, and the third, Edith, married Robert Dobbs, an Irish landowner, and was a lifelong correspondent (see -/4/16/-). Four more daughters were born to Henry and Juliana before the long-awaited sons, followed by another daughter, Lucy.

Bertha carried on an extensive correspondence with all her brothers and sisters and carefully preserved many of their replies. Over 50 letters also survive from her mother (see -/4/2/-), 17 from her father (see -/4/1/-), 33 from her aunt, Susan Broadwood (see -/4/3/-), and a great many from numerous cousins, nephews, nieces and friends. In a letter to her cousin Charlotte Digby in 1928 she refers to herself as 'the archivist' of her generation (ie of Broadwoods) (see -/4/30/17).

The Broadwood girls were educated at home and, although widely read, Bertha appears to have felt their education had been deficient. She possessed a talent for drawing (see -/5/6) and claimed to have a good ear for music (see -/4/1/19). There is evidence that Bertha was a very capable organiser and quickly became a key person in the family and the one to whom the others referred, although they did not always take kindly to her interference (see -/4/16/87). From the 1880s, as her parents aged, they became dependent on her to manage the family home, Lyne House, and from 1888 when her father was incapacitated, she dealt with his business affairs until his death in 1893. After her father's death she remained deeply involved in the affairs of the firm, especially in the period leading up to the setting up of the limited company in 1901. She became a director of the company in 1910.

After the death of her sister-in-law, Margaret Evelyn, wife of James, in 1889, Bertha became guardian to James and Margaret's three children Joan, Audrey and Evelyn, and she took sole care of them after their father's death in 1903. Despite being able to share the burden occasionally with her sisters, Edith and Mary in particular, she wrote in her 53rd year of being bowed down with responsibilities (see -/3/366).

Bertha Broadwood's main achievement outside the family was the establishment of the Cottage Benefit Nursing Association. She also absorbed herself in the politics of the day (see -/7/1,7-9) opposing women's suffrage, trades unionism and socialism, supporting Irish Unionism and concerning herself closely with the education of the working classes. She set up a reading room for the village of Rusper (see -/8/1), and was instrumental in establishing the Popular Lecture Association (see -/8/9). She was one of the managers of Capel School, and as architecture was one of her many interests she also designed some buildings for the school (see -/8/4). She attempted to raise money for charity by designing modest buildings and some of her plans of cottages survive (see -/8/7).

Because of the agricultural depression of the second half of the 19th century Bertha Broadwood became interested in the problems of landowners and made a detailed study of systems of land tenure in various parts of Europe and elsewhere. This involved her in extensive correspondence and resulted in a number of published articles (see -/7/12). Possibly linked with this were some of her forays into the study of foreign languages (see -/8/8).

In 1883 Bertha Broadwood visited India and made a tour lasting until November 1884. Her letters home were preserved by the family and returned to her (see -/4/149). With those of her sister Katherine from an earlier period they give an interesting account of life in India and the Indian scene, sometimes illustrated with small sketches. Six copper plates made from drawings of Indian people by Bertha have also survived (see -/4/150). She also travelled in many parts of Europe and her own letters and those of her aunt, Susan Broadwood, describe places and antiquities visited.

In some autobiographical notes evidently intended for an obituary (see -/5/6/22) Bertha Broadwood described herself as having inherited from her north country ancestors the 'imagination, determination and perseverance and doggedness necessary for organising and carrying through a work which has practically revolutionised nursing in country districts'. She lists as her other interests archaeology, architecture, pictures, natural history, especially ornithology, history and foreign politics (the use of the word foreign is curious). She also gives a brief description of her father upon whom she 'moulded her actions and character'. She vowed herself 'a great believer in Race - nature is stronger than nurture - individuality of thought and action, personal trouble.....'

In spite of her claim to imagination Bertha Broadwood was not an innovator. She did not question the foundations of her society; her aim was always to restore and to improve within the given framework. It is clear from many of the papers that she was warm and sacrificially generous, much loved, devoted to her family, religious and patriotic.


Apart from the letters there are a great many notes, memoranda, drafts for articles or speeches, some verses and a large collection of printed pamphlets, leaflets, presscuttings and books on the many subjects which interested Bertha Broadwood. There are also 3 volumes of a journal she kept as a girl and her appointment diaries. There is some evidence that she looked through her many papers in later life, adding dates and explanatory notes, and that she was planning to write a book. Beyond occasionally putting related papers in an envelope she does not seem to have made any attempt to classify them. It would seem that after her death some sorting was carried out by her niece Audrey Hodsoll.

The papers were mostly found in confusion and boxed before their removal from Lyne House in 1977. The boxes were numbered and listed with a note of the room in which the papers in each box were found. These box numbers have been recorded in the detailed catalogue. DW in the position of the box number indicates items loaned by the Broadwood Trust to David Wainwright before the records were removed from Lyne House. There was little evidence of any systematic filing but the few bundles apparently dating from Bertha's own sorting and that of her niece have been retained. A few items were removed from the miscellaneous bundles of Nursing Association records. The contents of these bundles are noted in Appendix 2 of Nursing Association list, see -/1-3. The present arrangement of the correspondence is chronological by writer except where an occasional bundle has been found and the letters in it retained. The remainder of the papers and related letters and printed matter have been arranged by subject. Dates have been supplied where missing from other sources, internal evidence, and tentatively from the proximity to other papers in the same box. The very large number of pieces of paper made it impossible to arrive at a scheme of classification until detailed descriptions had been made for most of the pieces. These were then sorted under persons or subjects.

An index to the papers is available. Although the present list includes the main cross-references the index should be used to trace other references especially for -/7/-.

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Broadwood Trust in 1977 with other records relating to the family and to the piano manufacturing firm of John Broadwood and Sons.

Other Finding Aids

An item level description of the archive is available on the Surrey History Centre online catalogue

Related Material

For other records of Benefit Nursing Associations see 352/3/4, 496/- and 2180/-. For Nursing Association references in 2185/BMB other than sections -/1/- to -/3/-, see -/4/2/44; -/4/6/2; -/4/11/9; -/4/12/5; -/4/17/30; -/4/19/27; -/4/50/3; -/6/4/15; -/6/21/1; -/6/24/4.


Pioneer Women in Victoria's Reign, Edwin A Pratt (1897); A History of District Nursing, Mary Stocks (1960); Victorian Ladies at Work, Lee Holcombe (1973). References in the catalogue to 'Wainwright' refer to David Wainwright's book, Broadwood by Appointment (Quiller Press, 1982).


Geographical Names