Photographs, Negatives, Slides and Plates of Hospitals and Nursing
Patients and Nurses at Edenfield Red Cross Hospital pose for the camera in this 1916 photograph. Located at Springfield, this facility was one of eight official auxiliary hospitals in Fife. In the early months of the First World War, the British Red Cross and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem combined to form the Joint War Committee in order to secure such facilities and nursing staff for wounded military personnel. The auxiliary hospitals accommodated the less seriously wounded and helped them to recover from physical and mental injuries. Appeals for funds and equipment in Fife were led by Lady Gertrude Cochrane of Crawford Priory at Springfield. Dorothy Agnes Cochrane, a daughter of Thomas Cochrane, 1st Baron Cochrane of Cults, was one of the most energetic members of the staff of Edenfield Red Cross Hospital. She later married Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton. The Commandant of Edenfield Red Cross Hospital around the time of this photograph was Edith Blanche Nairn, third daughter of the late Sir Michael B. Nairn. In June 1916, wearing her nursing uniform, she married James Harry Sinclair Holroyd, of Sibali, Rhodesia, fifth son of George Barron Holroyd, of Byfleet.
A photograph that will make some people cringe, particularly the glass cabinet containing the surgical instruments. Still, everything looks spotlessly clean - in those days nurses lived in fear of the matron's inspections. The foundation stone of the Blackburn Infirmary was laid by the Mayor, William Pilkington, in May 1858. However, because of the depressed state of the local cotton industry, exacerbated by the American Civil War, funding for the building was difficult. The hospital finally opened in 1864. The operating theatre seen here was in the Victoria Wing, an extension to the building completed in 1897. The wing also included a sterilising Room, anaesthetic room, recovery room, and a new ward on the first floor. A new wing for the hospital was first proposed in 1880, suggesting that the wheels of local government turned very slowly in Blackburn.