Dome Hospital



Examine the photograph, the source information, and the background information to answer the questions below.

Background information: The Dome Hospital was a large English concert hall converted into a hospital during World War I. It was used to treat Indian soldiers who were wounded while fighting the German Army in France. India was an English colony at the time. The British government gave H.D. Girdwood permission to take photos that would increase Indian support for the war by showing the good care given to Indian soldiers injured fighting for the Allies. This is one of those photos.


Title: The Dome Hospital
Date of photograph: 1915 
Photographer: H.D. Girdwood
Location: Brighton, England

Caption on the photograph: “The Dome Hospital, showing some of the 689 beds in the whole hospital. These beautiful seaside palaces have been converted into hospitals for Indian troops, and are fitted with every modern convenience.”

Question 1: Why might the background information above lead you to question the photograph’s reliability as evidence of British medical care for Indian soldiers?

Question 2: What is one thing you would want to know about Girdwood or how he took this photo to better determine its reliability? Why?

About the Assessment

This assessment gauges students’ ability to source, contextualize, and corroborate a document. To answer this assessment, students must consider various aspects of the photograph's reliability and also think about other information that could help them evaluate the reliability of the image. In Question 1, students must explain that Girdwood was trying to win the support of Indians for the war, and as a result, may have chosen to depict the medical care at the Dome Hospital in a positive light while ignoring evidence to the contrary. In Question 2, students must identify other relevant information that would help them evaluate the reliability of this image and justify their reasoning.