CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3179/6/4/5
TitleBritish Medical Association visit to the Soviet Union
Extent9 leaves
Administrative HistoryA party from the British Medical Association was invited to the Soviet Union as guests of the Soviet Ministry of Health and the Academy of Medical Sciences in August 1956. The party, which visited Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Sochi (on the eastern Baltic Coast), appears to have comprised a mixture of delegates, with the emphasis upon those engaged in medical research. Mary Esslemont was perhaps the only general practitioner included. An account of the trip by Dr J.G.M. Hamilton of Edinburgh University, was published in the 'British Medical Journal', 3 November 1956.
DescriptionAccount of Mary Esslemont's visit to Russia with the British Medical Association, August 1956. Describes medical training in Russia, the Russian health service, in particular maternity and child care, and the visible problems of housing and overcrowding. Compares life in Russia in 1956 with observations made during her visit of 1936, referring particularly to social and economic well-being, leisure time, etc (trips to the Moscow Circus, Moscow Puppet Theatre, opera, and ballet are all mentioned). Also refers to a youth rally in 'the new Lenin Stadium', seeing 'the great runner Kuts' in the Russian Olympic trials, and a football match between Spartaks and Dynamos.

Notes that they enjoyed the 'same unsummery weather in August that prevailed in most parts of Europe', but that the climate was warm and summery on the Baltic coast, where they visited several of the sanatoria which have been built along the shore of the Black Sea. The sanatoria are the 'last word in real comfort and in medical diagnostic equipment and treatment facilities, and patients come from all over the Soviet Union and even beyond.' 'The sunshine and warm water made it tempting to bathe and it was comforting to find that almost every other female bather, except the teenagers and children was almost as fat as oneself.'

With printed account of same, entitled 'A Visit to Russia.'
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe records are available subject to the signed acceptance of the Department's access conditions.
Related MaterialMary Esslemont's travel journal from this trip is described in MS 3179/4/11.
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