Hope-Bell. Elspeth

Reference code(s): GB 0102 CWM/LMS China Personal Box 12
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies Library
Domain: archival
Title: Hope-Bell. Elspeth
Date(s) of contents: 1911-1965
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 4 files


Name of creator(s):

Administrative/Biographical history: Esther Hope-Bell was born in Eastbourne, England in 1881. She trained as a nurse at Haslemere Cottage Hospital and at the London Hospital. She was accepted for missionary service by the London Missionary Society in 1911 and was appointed Matron of the Menís Hospital, Hankow. She began the training of male nurses in 1912 and, in addition to her hospital duties, was President of the Nurses Association of China from 1914 to 1915. In 1926 she became Travelling and Organising Secretary of the Nurses Association of China and was Matron of the Lester Chinese Hospital in Shanghai from 1928 to 1929. In 1930 she returned to Hankow where she concentrated on the evangelistic work which had always been so important to her. In 1931 she felt obliged to resign from the LMS in order to devote herself to the care of her aged mother. In England, Elspeth Hope-Bell continued her links with the LMS and was a member of the LMS Board until 1950. She also became a Deaconess in her local church. She died at Bexhill in 1968.

Custodial history: The papers were deposited with the London Missionary Society and form part of the special series of personal papers of individual LMS missionaries and officers.

Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited on permanent loan with the records of the London Missionary Society by the Congregational Council for World Mission (later Council for World Mission) in 1973


Scope and content/abstract: Letters and letter-extracts, dated 1911-1926, to family, friends and supporters at home from Elspeth Hope-Bell describing her arrival in China, the disturbances of 1911, her impressions of Hankow Hospital, her language training and other aspects of her life and work in China. Some original photographs, others cut from magazines.

Letters and letter-extracts, dated 1919-1922, to family, friends and supporters at home from Elspeth Hope-Bell, chiefly describing her work and life in Hankow.

Letters and letter-extracts, dated 1924-1931, to family, friends and supporters at home from Elspeth Hope-Bell. The letters are mainly written from Hankow and Shanghai. At the back of the file is some correspondence, 1931-1950, about her resignation and subsequent contact with the LMS.

Scrapbook containing a photographic record of her voyages to and from China, 1918-1919, 1923, 1924 and 1930 together with letters written en route. Places and features illustrated include New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Yokohama, Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies and Montreal. Also, copies of short articles written by Elspeth-Hope Bell about medical work in China in general, about evangelistic-medical work and about the work of the Nurses Association of China.

System of arrangement: Arranged in four files.


Language: English.

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted

Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without prior written permission. Apply to SOAS Archives in first instance.

Finding aids: This description constitutes the only finding aid at present.


Related material: The School of Oriental and African Studies holds the records of the London Missionary Society (Ref: CWM/LMS), including letters and reports from individual missionaries and their application papers. An album of photographs formerly belonging to Elspeth Hope-Bell is kept with the China Photographs (Ref.CWM/LMS/15/10/14/170).


Date(s) of descriptions: July 2005

Evangelistic missionary work
Medical missionary work

Personal names
Hope-Bell | Elspeth | 1881-1968 | nurse and missionary

Corporate names
London Missionary Society

East Asia