fonds MBAR - Margaret Barnet Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Margaret Barnet Archive


  • 1854-c 2000 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.08 cubic metres

4 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Margaret Campbell Barnet was born in Sunderland in 1917, the daughter of Peter Campbell Barnet and his wife Margaret Bell. Educated first at Sunderland Church High School, she went on to study medicine at St Andrew’s University in Scotland and was awarded her MB and ChB in 1941.

She began her career in Birmingham working with the public health service but in 1949 she moved to York to take up a joint appointment with the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust (JRVT) and the North Riding Health Authority continuing the investigations of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree into the health of mothers and children in rural areas. This began a lifelong association with the Rowntree Trusts and she was also active in the affairs of Hartrigg Oaks, the retirement community created by the Rowntrees at their model village of New Earswick, near York.

In 1955 she transferred to what was then the York public health service. She specialised in children’s health, in particular the health of disabled children, and continued this work after her move to the newly created North Yorkshire Area Health Authority in 1974. There she also became a specialist in community medicine.

A scholar of medical history, Dr Barnet published a number of articles on the medical history of York in the ‘Medical History’ journal. These included ‘Matthew Allen, MD. (Aberdeen) 1783-1845’ in 1965, ‘The Barber Surgeons of York’ in 1968, and ‘The 1832 Cholera Epidemic in York’ in 1972. She was also active in York Medical Society, serving as Secretary for nineteen years and as President in 1977.

Beyond the field of medicine, Dr Barnet was churchwarden of the city’s St Olave’s Church and chairman of the Local Committee of the Church Schools Company, who founded York College for Girls in 1908, as well as a governor of the national Church Schools Company in London.

Dr Barnet retired in 1982 and later moved to Hartrigg Oaks. She died on 18 February 2008.

Archival history

Upon accession, the archive was found to include a volume of York County Hospital printed annual reports, 1833-1865. This has been transferred to the York County Hospital Archive which is also deposited at the Borthwick Institute.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was gifted to the Borthwick Institute in 2008 by York Medical Society.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Research papers of Dr Margaret C. Barnet, comprising research notes, reports, draft and published articles and related correspondence focusing on medical history. Subjects include 14th century medicine in York; 18th century medicine in York; health in 19th century York; plague in York; cholera in York; medicine and health services in York; youth delinquency in York; services for the elderly and child health services in York; York Medical Society; York Lunatic Asylum; York County Hospital; New Earswick; the life and careers of Dr Elsie Inglis; Oswald Allen, apothecary; Dr Matthew Allen; John Hopps; Mary Carpenter; Alice Thornton; S. W. Nicholl; Dr John Stansfield Gayner, and others.

The archive also includes volume V of 'The Medical Circular and General Medical Advertiser,' dated 1854, which contains letters concerning the Crimean War.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued. Please contact the Borthwick Institute for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The Borthwick Institute also holds the archives of York Medical Society; York County Hospital; York Lunatic Asylum (as Bootham Park Hospital); and of the Rowntree family and Trusts.

Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 15.02.17.




Accession area