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Halliday Sutherland: The Suitcase in the Cellar

9. juni 2014

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Halliday Sutherland

Halliday Sutherland was a tuberculosis pioneer, doctor and author who lived between 1882 and 1960. This site celebrates his life and work.

As a tuberculosis pioneer, Dr Sutherland was a pupil of Sir Robert Philip in the newly born tuberculosis movement. As a doctor, he worked for the control and cure of tuberculosis. As an author, he wrote thirteen books. One of these, The Arches of the Years, was listed in the Publishers Weekly best sellers list for 1933.


The site was established and is maintained by Mark Sutherland, a grandson of Dr Sutherland.

særligt denne blogpost: 8. juni 2014 - The Suitcase in the Cellar

Hvor man bl.a kan læse:

In April 1955 Dr Halliday Sutherland visited the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam and the Magdalene Laundry at Galway. In order to obtain permission for the visit, Sutherland had to agree that anything he wrote was subject to the approval of the Mother Superior. The censored version of his visit was included in his book “Irish Journey” published in 1956. No one knew what the uncensored version contained — until now. The uncensored manuscript, and the story of how it came to be discovered in a cellar, is revealed here for the first time.

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THE year was 1955 and the nun was speaking to Dr Halliday Sutherland, a Scottish doctor, author and TB treatment pioneer who visited both the Tuam home run by the French sisters, and the infamous Magdalene Laundry in Galway City as he was researching his book, Irish Journey.

To gain access to the Magdalene Laundry, Dr Sutherland had to accept interrogation by the fearsome Bishop of Galway, Michael John Browne – one of the most senior Catholic clerics and a noted supporter of the notorious sectarian boycott of Protestants in Fethard-on-Sea.

Dr Sutherland's original 1955 manuscript kept by his grandson Mark ( is a remarkable contemporary account of what he found at the Tuam mother-and-child home 59 years ago.

He wrote: "At Tuam I went to the old workhouse, now the Children's Home, a long two-storied building in its own grounds. These were well-kept and had many flowerbeds. The home is run by the Sisters of Bon Secours of Paris and the Reverend Mother showed me round. Each of the sisters is a fully trained nurse and midwife. Some are also trained children's nurses. An unmarried girl may come here to have her baby. She agrees to stay in the home for one year. During this time she looks after her baby and assists the nuns in domestic work. She is unpaid.


Dr Sutherland later met Bishop Browne and made a contemporaneous note of the often hostile exchanges as he tried to get permission to visit the Magdalene Laundry.

Bishop Browne: "Why do you want to see the Magdalene Home?"

Dr Sutherland: "I want to see how you treat unmarried mothers. Many of these girls come to England. It is said that 55 per cent of the girls in British Catholic Rescue Homes are Irish."

Bishop: "That is propaganda. Fr Craven began it. Cardinal Bourne repeated it. For 25 years I have asked for the figures. They can't give them. Do you know the figures?"

Sutherland: "No, I'm trying to get them."

Bishop: "You will find there are only a few. Hundreds of decent Irish girls are going to England. At this moment your government are advertising high salaries for Irish girls to go to England as nurses in your mental hospitals."

Sutherland: "English priests say that most of the Irish lose their faith within six months of coming to England."

Bishop: "Then why don't your English priests look after the Irish instead of throwing bastards in our face!"

Sutherland: "My Lord, no-one is throwing bastards in your face. Ireland is a Christian country where going to Mass is a social duty difficult to avoid."

Bishop: "That is normal. It should be so in England."

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