Ladies and gentlemen sitting in cart, with horses, nurses surrounding

Alexandra Rose day

Fundraising: Alexandra Rose day for the Salisbury General Infirmary

After World War 1 the Infirmary’s finances were in trouble – their expenditure had trebled in 10 years from £6k to £18k. To combat this the hospital saw a very busy period in fundraising in the 1920s & 1930s. (see our carnival page for pictures of this event)

The photograph below from our collection is of particular interest and shows a group preparing for Alexandra Rose Day. Held in June this national campaign started in 1912 on the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Queen Alexandra from Denmark. The Queen requested that the anniversary be marked by the sale of roses in London to raise funds for charities and hospitals. You can just make out the wording on the placard in the photo that says ‘Eleventh anniversary’ which would make it 1922. This is confirmed in the Salisbury General Infirmary Annual report for 1922, which describes a major fundraising event across the city for Alexandra Rose Day. It was noted despite bad weather on the day they however raised nearly £600 (probably modern day equivalent of £30k) with 700 ladies taking part and 45,000 roses were sold.

In the centre of the photo, just behind the small cart, is Miss Adeline Cable who was matron during the war and into 1920s. As well as the bulldog sat on top of the stage coach, did you notice the strange dressed up character in the foreground group? It’s not the Salisbury Hob Nob, but could be the donkey headed ‘Bottom’ from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

An associated item in our collection is the silver rose bowl pictured below, which is inscribed:

Salisbury Alexandra Rose Day
June 21st 1932
Presented by Mrs Gilbert Kempe
in memory of
Mr Gilbert Kempe OBE MD
Surgeon of Salisbury Infirmary


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