Online Talk: The Glasgow Lock Hospital for Unfortunate Females

Wednesday 9th March 2022 | 7.30pm BST | via Zoom

At 41 Rottenrow, hidden in plain sight, the Glasgow Lock Hospital for Unfortunate Females once stood. Opening its doors in 1845, this new purpose built hospital was Glasgow’s only provision for women with venereal disease, and it was quickly overwhelmed. 

The Annual Report covering the Lock’s first 10 years indicates thousands of women and girls applying for treatment. They are listed as mill girls, servants, widows, actresses, ballet girls and even schoolgirls. They were cited in their diseased state by codewords and terms such as ‘newly fallen’ or ‘hardened’. They were kept in reformatory conditions and medical treatments were more experimental than effective, for example mercury vapour baths were used as a potential cure It was common knowledge that few survived their stay at the Lock.  

Join us for this evening talk by Anna Forrest to find out more about this infamous place: who were these women and how did they end up there, and what happened to them once there? 

Anna Forrest has carried out extensive research on the Glasgow Lock Hospital. Her interest began whilst she was working as a Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, which features a ‘Lock Room’ containing records relating to the hospital. Over many years Anna pieced together the history of the hospital, which she had originally been told didn’t exist, with the aim of making sure the public knew the stories of  the women and girls treated there. 

Free, booking required, donations welcome. 


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