Report: An Afternoon with Dewar

An Afternoon with Dewar‘: Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Delegates at the conference

A capacity audience of around 30 people enjoyed ‘An Afternoon with Dewar’ held at the Highland Archive Centre, Inverness as part of Highlife Highland’s Dewar Report Centenary Exhibition. In his opening remarks, Colin Waller (Highland Archive Service) drew attention to the fact that no internet site listing the notable events of 1912 mentions the Highlands and Islands Medical Services or Dewar Committee, whose report and recommendations laid the foundations for today’s NHS and encouraged those present to celebrate the achievements of this far sighted group.

Dr Miles Mack’s presentation, “The Dewar Report” provided the historical background to the appointment of the committee, introduced its members, particularly Sir John Dewar, the Marchioness of Tullibardine and Murdoch Beaton, the secretary. Miles went on to give an overview of the Report’s findings and recommendations along with their implementation and how this improved medical service provision in the Highlands and Islands. This was followed by a screening of Kay Mander’s 1943 film “Highland Doctor”; a dramatic account of how health-care in the Outer Hebrides was improved after 1912. The second speaker was Jim Leslie of the Highland Hospital Project who presented “Dewar and the Highland Hospitals”.

Drawing on his extensive research, Jim gave an overview of hospital provision at the time of the Dewar Report. The impracticalities of the Report’s recommendations regarding establishing Cottage Hospitals were considered and Jim concluded by detailing those hospitals which benefitted from either direct grants or subsidies towards the provision of specialist services and equipment.
The audience were able to view Dewar Centenary Exhibition, sited in the Archive search-room. In addition to the touring display and material from Highland Archive Service’s own collections, medical artefacts provided by the Inverness Museum and Art gallery were on show.

Historical medical instruments on display

During its stay at the Highland Archive Centre the Dewar Report Centenary Exhibition was enjoyed by readers and researchers using the service and other members of the public who visited the Centre especially to view it. The Exhibition has now moved to the Lochaber Archive Centre in Fort William where it will remain until 25thJune. It will then be hosted by the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery from 30th June to 28th July.