AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 A/COW
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: COWDRAY CLUB
Date(s): 1919-1974
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 4.80 linear metres
Name of creator(s): The Nation's Nurses and Professional Women's Club Ltd
Cowdray Club | club for nurses and professional women


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Cowdray Club was established in 1922 and remained in existence until 1974 when it merged with the Naval and Military Club in Piccadilly. Its original name was The Nation's Nurses and Professional Women's Club Ltd, and its accounts and legal agreements used this name throughout. The First Viscountess Cowdray did much to promote the nursing profession. As Annie Pearson, the wife of Weetmar Dickinson Pearson, a successful engineering contractor (Pearson and Son), her life had taken her to Spain, Mexico, New York, Egypt and Malta. She left her mark in her humane care for her husband's employees and in the gift of Cowdray Hospital to Mexico City. She was a supporter of district nursing, being associated with the Queen's Institute of District Nursing, and active in establishing nursing services in many rural districts of England and Scotland. She provided seven Queen's Nurses at her own expense.

Following the creation of the College of Nursing in 1916, Viscountess Cowdray became involved with fundraising for The Nation's Fund for Nurses for the Creation of a Benevolent Fund for Nurses and the endowment of the College of Nursing. This involvement led to the idea of a gift of a social club for nurses and professional women which "should provide a centre for intercourse and recreation and which should also furnish some of those creature comforts which we associate with the word 'Home'". To this end the Cowdrays purchased 20 Cavendish Square from Mr and Mrs Asquith.

The house was originally built in 1703 and possessed a staircase decorated by Sir James Thornhill. It was converted into a club by Sir Edwin Cooper and later given a new facade after the purchase of neighbouring properties by the College of Nursing in 1928-1930. The building belonged to the College of Nursing and was leased to the club.

The membership of the club was on a basis of 55 per cent nurses, 35 per cent professional women and 10 per cent women without professional qualifications. The College of Nursing had a 50 per cent representation on the council of the club. For much of its existence, the club had over 4,000 members.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Cowdray Club, also known as the Nation's Nurses and Professional Women's Club. The records consist of a complete set of council and committee minutes and detailed membership records, including notes on links with other women's clubs such as the University Women's Club and the VAD Ladies Club. The collection also includes some photographs, newscuttings, annual reports, and plans of the club building.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Legal papers A/COW/01-11;
Administration A/COW/12-56;
Office files A/COW/57-71;
Membership A/COW/72-82;
Buildings A/COW/83-85;
Photographs and illustrations A/COW/86;
Printed material A/COW/87-92;
The Nation's Nurses and Professional Women's Club Limited A/COW/93-97.

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Gifted to the Archive in October 1974.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The collection complements existing LMA collections such as those concerned with nursing, Nightingale School (H1/ST/NTS), Nightingale Collection (HI/ST/NC), Guy's Hospital Trained Nurses Institution (H9/GY/GHINI), Ranyard Nurses Mission (A/RNY), those concerning women such as the Women's Local Government Society (A/WLG) and the Schoolmistresses and Governesses Benevolent Institution (ACC/3065), and those records of gentleman's clubs, Brookes Club (ACC/2371), St. James's Club (ACC/2371), Union Club (A/UNC). The Cowdray family was also involved with the South London Hospital for Women (H24).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June to August 2010.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"