11 months, 3400 items, 7 blogs and 27 tweets later the Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue and conserve the records of the Royal Scottish National Hospital comes to an end next week.
The collection provides a comprehensive record of the management and operation of the hospital from 1862 to its closure in 2002. But perhaps the most significant part of the collection is the admission applications.
Over 3,000 in total, these contain detailed information about the child’s condition, and are often accompanied by family correspondence, an assessment of the child’s abilities, and medical evaluations.
The applications create a research resource for a number of purposes: details of father’s occupation and income for the social historian; information on disability and the causes of death for the medical historian; and the opportunity to cross refer to other sources of data such as census records.
A lot of the applications include detailed case studies with temperature charts, records of physical and mental health and diagrams of the severity and frequency of seizures. Taken in conjunction with other parts of the collection, such as the administration and correspondence files, they present a comprehensive picture of treatment, research and social attitudes. Only used in depth by one academic researcher so far, they are a resource waiting to be exploited.
No final blog is complete without the obligatory before and after photographs of just what a difference funding like that provided by the Wellcome Trust can do.
And as for my favourite items…I do like the drawings of santa that the children were asked to do as part of their assessment. Below is my favourite one from 1929.
This will be the last blog by the Project Archivist but by no means the last on the collection. Also, not only will there be an article on the hospital in the August edition of History Scotland but an exhibition in the display wall at Archives and Special Collections, University of Stirling Library from 6th August for two months.
Alison Scott, Project Archivist