Rare Royaumont Photo Albums new home.

Today, I enjoyed a special privilege,  the opportunity to glean through  rarely seen photo albums of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals unit at Royaumont Abbey. roy10

Royaumont Abbey is located  30 miles outside Paris, France. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hospital Auxiliaire 301 and operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross.


The hospital opened in January 1915 and remained open until March 1919.  Best remembered for its huge endeavours during the Battles of the Somme and the final push of 1918.  It’s astonishing to think that out of nearly 11,000 soldiers and civilians  treated only 157 died. 


 The albums belong to Duncan MacPherson  whose great Aunts, Betty and Jean MacPherson had served at Royaumont as an orderly and cook.  Duncan contacted me to see if I would be interested in having the albums to help promote the story and safeguard the albums for future generations.  Clearly I would have relished the idea of owning them, but history belongs to the people.  

This collection of photos is unique and of real importance.  We both agreed that the albums should be part of a collection and available for all to see. 

The albums have been entrusted to the Glasgow City Archives in the Mitchell Library. The City Archives already hosts an extensive collection of files, documents and photos albums relating to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.  They are a joy and a big thank you to Duncan MacPherson for donating part of his family’s history to the nation.  


Alan Cumming