Youngwummin exhibition: Dr Elsie Inglis

26 August 2018 | Bethany Reynard

Five groups of young people across Scotland were encouraged to research the lives of young Scots women during the First World War as part of the Youngwummin initiative.

The Youngwummin exhibition, at the National Library, Scotland, showcases the creative exhibits produced by the young heritage researchers who chose to focus on the following themes: women at work, women at home, women’s rights and Scottish Women’s Hospitals.

Inspired by the work of Dr Elsie Inglis, and members of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals such as Ishobel Ross, they created an illustrated poem dedicated to Dr Inglis. Lines from the poem documented Dr Inglis’ achievements during the war:

‘Dr Inglis played a significant role in the Princes Street Suffragette March,
She treated thousands of injured men.
She was spurred on by the rejection she received in her career,
She set up hospitals in allied countries after offering her services to France’.

Detail of a youth group’s illustrated poem.

As well as producing creative exhibitions, the project aimed to show the young heritage researchers a new perspective on the role of Scottish Women in the First World War. Breda and Jennifer shared their reflections on the project and what they learnt below:

Life didn’t just stop because the men had left, the woman were raising a family and working long hour jobs on top of that. It just shows that even back in the First World War women weren’t relying on men. They were strong and independent enough to maintain the jobs that men had left behind.
Breda Houston
I decided to choose Elsie Inglis because when I read her story while researching Scottish nurses in the First World War, I was really inspired by hers. I really loved how she helped so many people and really put a lot of effort into every task she did.
Jennifer Drolle

The Youngwummin exhibition can be viewed at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh until 29th September.