Friday, 26 September 2014

A sporting partnership

In this week’s blog, LHSA Archivist Louise explores a fruitful sporting connection:

With the Ryder Cup just under way in Gleneagles, I was inspired to look again at one of our collections with a golfing theme. Although many doctors undoubtedly enjoyed playing golf, the connection between the game (developed, of course, on our own Leith Links) and one Edinburgh Hospital was much more involved than that.

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children (REHSC) had been bequeathed the estate of Muirfield by Lady Jane Meikleham - they first opened a convalescent home there in 1906. This initially modest venture with accommodation for ten children proved inadequate and a new building was opened there three years later. With lucky chance, the building was adjacent to the Muirfield golf course, and from 1929 the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers allowed the REHSC to profit from the sales of and advertising revenue from the Open Golf Championship held annually at Muirfield in late June.

Although we do not hold a copy of an actual programme, we do hold the evidence of how the REHSC put the programme together, particularly for the 1932 and 1935 programmes. Our most extensive information lies in files of letters to companies around the UK asking if they would like to buy advertising space in the tournament programme, including 1930s company logos and ‘mock-ups’ of advertisements, of which there are a selection here:

Advertising proofs for Open Golf tournament programme, 1932-1935 (LHB5/34/34-35)

Considerable time was spent on other content, too. From letters about the 1935 programme production, we know that writer J B Priestly contributed a forward to the 1932 programme, whilst Punch cartoonist G L Stampa contributed a drawing. We have copies of programme proofs with cartoons like this one:

Cartoon - part of programme proof sheet, 1935 (LHB5/34/35)
The scorecard of American superstar golfer Walter Hagan (1892-1969) was also reproduced in both the 1932 and 1935 programmes:
Walter Hagan score card (LHB5/34/35)
In the same collection, LHSA also holds photographs of illustrations used in a 1931 golfing calendar (sponsored by the Life Association for Scotland):

Photographs of illustrations used in Life Association for Scotland Calendar, 1931 (LHB5/34/37)
along with copies of the photographs on which they seemed to have been based:

Golfing photograph, 1931 (LHB5/34/37)

So whether you’re braving the Perthshire traffic or safely ensconced in front of the TV, LHSA wishes you a good golfing weekend!

Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children collection:

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