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Collection relating to Winifred Rushforth

Identifier: Coll-1260

Scope and Contents

The Rushforth collection is composed of:

In E2010.10:
  1. - material relating to the Davidson Clinic, being Minute Book 1938-1946, bank guarantee 1960, bank statements 1959-1961, Annual Reports of the Davidson Clinic 1942-1968; Davidson Clinic Bulletin 1946-1967, pamphlets and programmes of the clinic 1940s and 1950s, newspaper clippings, talks and papers, off-prints of articles, and journals with relevant articles
  2. - correspondence of governors and office-bearers, Davidson Clinic, 1941-1958
  3. - typescript of the 'Growth of man'
  4. - correspondence with Heinemann, 1965-1967, relating to a possible book about the Clinic
  5. - family papers such as birth certificate of Rushforth's mother and brother, and wedding banns of parents, family art-work and childrens notebooks, childrens school reports, travel notes or extended letters (Norway, undated, and Newfoundland, 1939), photographs of Rushforth and other individuals, obituaries and material relating to thanksgiving service, certificates of appreciation
  6. - draft and chapter notes for 'Ten decades of happenings', an autobiography
  7. - collection of broadcast scripts, 1945-1979
  8. - folder of material noted as 'Recognition', and containing papers, notes and fragments
  9. - talk or script on 'Reflections', including sections on 'A Highland deerstalker', 'A parish minister and his wife', 'The house that Jack built', 'Camp-fire at Lundie Tower', 'Looking for lambs', Jim the yes-man', and 'The boys and girls of Falkland'
  10. - reviews of 'Something is happening', poems, cards, and art-work, by for example Neil Mochrie and Angela Hamilton, as well as off-prints and journals relating to psychotherapy
  11. - illustrated postcards
  12. - material relating to a visit to Rushforth made by the Prince and Princess of Wales including lots of newspaper material but also photographs taken during the visit in 1983 and a copy of speech by Charles Prince of Wales to the Mental Health Foundation of Australia
In E2012.09:
  1. 4 x folders containing correspondence, being: 1containing correspondence between Winifred and her mother – 1920s; 1 containing [Salisbury] Centre related correspondence – undated, and 1981; 1 containing correspondence with Cary Welch; and, 1 containing correspondence with Laurens van der Post
  2. 1 x folder containing: Sketch book with sketches by Margaret Winfred Bartholomew
  3. 1 x folder containing: Marriage certificate dated 1 November 1915 – Frank Victor Rushforth aged 27, Peshawar, and Margaret Winifred Bartholomew aged 30, Winchburgh; Certificate of name change to ‘Medical Register’, 3 July 1916 – Margaret Winifred Bartholomew, to Mrs. Margaret Winifred Rushforth. Earlier date of registration, 28 July 1908 – M.B., Ch.B 1908 (Edin); Copy of the order of service for Thanksgiving for the life and work of Winifred Rushforth, Old st. Paul’s Church, Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, 3pm., Monday, 19 September 1983; Letter, signed Diana Bates, 30 August 1983, authorising a limited autopsy on Dr. Winifred Rushforth and removal of brain for research purposes; and, Certificate of cremationWorld Federation for Mental Health, 13th Annual meeting, August 1960
  4. 6 x notebooks or journals containing notes, lectures, meditations, services, dreams, and centre business.
Placed separately from the boxed material (E2012.09) is: 1 x framed certificate issued by the Rosicrucian Order conferring the title of ‘Humanitarian’ upon Dr. Winifred Rushforth, 4 March 1980.


  • 1855-1984


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but some material closed. Please contact repository for details about access to the collection in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Margaret Winifred Bartholomew was born on 21 August 1885 at Duntarvie, West Lothian, just over a dozen miles west of Edinburgh. She was the third of the five children of John and Agnes Bartholomew. Her father was a farmer and her mother a musician. She was educated at Edinburgh Ladies College between 1895 and 1903, and then she studied at the Edinburgh Medical College for Women, 1903-1908, graduating with the degrees of M.B. and Ch.B. from Edinburgh University, 1908. Her aunt, Dr. Isabella Mears, a missionary in China, was one of the first ten women to become a doctor in Britain.

From 1908, and for a year, Bartholomew worked as an Assistant in General Practice, and then in 1909 she gained a post as a Medical Missionary in the Womens Hospital, Nagpur, India where she carried out surgical work and midwifery. In 1914, she returned to Scotland, and on the outbreak of war took over her brother's medical practice near Edinburgh. In 1915 however, in November, she had returned to India, and in Bombay married Frank Rushworth who was at that time a Captain in the 7th Rajputs, an Indian Regiment stationed in the North West Frontier. By the end of the year though, Rushforth had been sent to Mesopotamia. In 1916, Winifred was working in the Mission Hospital, Jalna, in central India, doing surgical work and inoculations against bubonic plague and cholera. In 1917, her husband returned to India to a government post in Simla, and she did surgical work in a womens hospital there. In 1920 they moved to Calcutta, where Frank worked in business and Winifred was a volunteer worker organising infant welfare work and started child guidance with mothers groups. For this work, Rushforth received the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal (Emperor of India Medal).

In 1929, in London, she underwent training at the Tavistock Clinic beginning a personal analysis and carrying out analytic treatment of patients. By 1931, the Depression had ended her husband's career in Calcutta and so the family settled in Edinburgh where he worked as Registrar at the Edinburgh College of Art. Rushforth continued with personal analysis and in 1933 began work as an analytical psycho-therapist in private practice in Edinburgh - at this time, very much pioneer work in Scotland.

In 1939, just as the War started, Dr. Winifred Rushforth was joined by Dr. Elspeth Macleod - a child therapist - and several of her own patients who had teaching and other qualifications, and opened a small clinic with the support of a Presbyterian congregation. This was the Davidson Clinic. Her confidence in analytic psycho-therapy was strengthened by the arrival in Scotland of Jewish refugee psychiatrists from Germany, and one of them, Dr. William Kraemer, joined her in 1941 and they worked together for sixteen years establishing the Davidson Clinic.

During the wartime years, and after, the Clinic flourished, and as other doctors and clinicians associated themselves with it, psycho-therapists were able to be trained. As far as patients were concerned - and as concerned the analytical work - at one time as many as 100 patients were being treated daily. Then, with the passing of the Mental Health Act (1959), and the re-organisation of the mental hospitals across the UK, the treatment of neurosis and psycho-therapy was taken over by the State and new era of treatment began using barbiturate drugs and tranquillisers. Unable to offer comparable salaries to those offered by the National Health Service (NHS) it became impossible to recruit psychiatric staff, and so the Davidson Clinic was not able to survive.

From its inception in 1939 and until 1965, Dr. Winifred Rushforth was the Honorary Medical Director of the Davidson Clinic. On the death of her successor, she returned to the Clinic to wind up its affairs. Then, in 1967, Rushforth was awarded the OBE in recognition for her work. From 1965 until her death she continued her private practice in psycho-therapy working both with individual patients and also with Dream-Growth groups. In addition, Easter and Summer schools were held after 1965 and out of these the Sempervivum Trust emerged. Rushforth also provided inspiration to the work of the Salisbury Centre, Edinburgh (1973), and of Wellspring, Edinburgh (1978).

In 1981, at the age of ninety-five, she published Something is happening: spiritual awareness and depth psychology in the new age. It was first published in London by the Turnstone Press. Another work was Ten decades of happenings (1984), which was an autobiography. After her death, Life's Currency: Time, Money and Energy: An Anthology of Shorter Writings (1986) was published.

Dr. Winifred Rushforth died at her home in Edinburgh on 29 August 1983. Sir Laurens van der Post attended Dr Rushforth's Memorial Service in Old St Paul's Church, Edinburgh, as Prince Charles's representative. Earlier that year, the Prince and Princess of Wales had visited her in her home.


10 boxes

Physical Location

E2010.10; E2012.09

Physical Location

Additionally, there is material (slides / transparencies) in store 5.04 (Row 4).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired November 2009, Accession no: E2010.10; Material acquired April 2012, Accession no: E2012.09.

Related Materials

Also within Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, is the collection of Records relating to the Davidson Clinic (E98.69), and this material is composed of: Minute Book, 1958-1966; solicitors correspondence 1983-1993; correspondence of the Davidson Clinic Trust; accounts; notices of assignation and disposition; press statements; a notice that had been placed on the Clinic door; and two copies of The Davidson Clinic 1939-1973.

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.
Papers relating to Dr. Winifred Rushforth (1885-1983)
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379