Papers of Herbert Watt Torrance, 1892-1977, medical graduate and medical missionary, University of Glasgow

Scope and Content

  • Gynaecology and midwifery notebook, c 1910-c 1930;
  • MD Thesis, including later notes and articles, c1921-1975.

Administrative / Biographical History

Herbert Watt Torrance was born in Tiberias in 1892  , the third son of Dr David Watt Torrance, a missionary who had worked in Palestine, Egypt, Damascus, Nazareth and opened a hospital in Tiberias in 1885, with the specific purpose of being open to any race or religion. Herbert Watt Torrance studied at the University of Glasgow between 1911-1916, graduating with an MB ChB in 1916  . During his time at University he received a medal for Surgery (1914-1915), first class certificates for Physics, Surgery, Clinical Surgery, Diseases of the Ear, Diseases of the Throat and Nose and Practical Pathology. He also received Second Class certificates in Zoology, Anatomy, Practical Botany, Systematic Botany, Pathology, Systematic Embryology, Clinical Medicine and Midwifery . He served in France and Serbia with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was awarded the military cross. After demobilisation he returned to the University of Glasgow as demonstrator and lecturer and to study for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was awarded an MD in 1921  and received a commendation for his thesis on Tay-Sachs' Disease. He returned to Tiberias and in 1923 became superintendent of the hospital. He was made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and was awarded an OBE for services rendered during the British Mandate in Palestine.

Following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1949 the hospital became a maternity hospital responsible for midwifery and gynaecology under the Israeil Department of Health. The hopsital closed in 1959 and Herbert Watt Torrance returned to Scotland in 1961, working as a GP in Dundee. Herbert Watt Torrance married twice and had two daughters. He died in 1977  . The work of the Torrance family for both Arabs and Jews is commemorated in Tiberias by Torrance Square which bears a dedication to Dr David and Herbert Torrance. SOURCE: GB 0254, Dundee University Archives, MS 38, Papers of Torrance family and GUAS student records.


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift : Lydia Dorward : April 2001 : ACCN 2047;

Gift : Lydia Dorward : March 2002 : ACCN : 2173

Other Finding Aids

Digital file list available in the searchroom

Alternative Form Available

None known

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of the material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

Held with the creator's family before deposit with GUAS.


None expected

Related Material

GB 0247, University of Glasgow Special Collections Department: Thesis by Herbert Watt Torrance (Ref: 11.21 (old);

GB 0254, Dundee University Archive, Torrance collection (Ref: MS 38) See descriptions for the collection on the the archive website

Also see GB 2120, Scottish Screen Archive Tiberias, 1935 (Ref: 0355) and Wild Flowers of Palestine, 1949 (Ref: 0348), two films made by Herbert Watt Torrance.

Location of Originals

This material is original with the exception of various journal articles which may be found at the British Library.


No known publications

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Beckinsale, Archive Assistant, 22 February 2007. Lower level descriptions compiled by Anna Sander, Archive Assistant, 22 March 2004. Converted to Encoded Archival Description by Sarah Beckinsale, Archive Assistant, 22 February 2007. Edited by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist (Cataloguing), 14 January 2013.