Sue Young Histories

Kate and Nina Moti Hosali and Homeopathy

April 24, 2009

Kate Hosali 1877 - 1944 and her daughter Nina Moti Hosali 1898 - 1987, MBE, MSc, FRSA founded the Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa, and Nina founded The Nature Cure Clinic, which was the basis for the Institute for Complementary Medicine.

Nina Hosali was also an artist and author. The Nina Hosali Award for art is still offered.

Nina Hosali was a colleague of Bertrand Allinson, Henry Valentine Knaggs,

In the winter of 1921, two British women, Kate Hosali and her daughter Nina, set off on a six month visit to North Africa in search of sunshine. What they found instead were appalling instances of neglect and ignorance towards pack and domestic animals.

On their return to Britain, Kate Hosali founded the Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa in 1923. She went out alone that year and began work in Algeria – in the medinas, souks and fondouks – treating wounded and bleeding backs, saddle sores and other injuries.

Despite cynicism, scorn and indifference, Kate Hosali eventually won the friendship and gratitude of those whose animals she treated. Many began to show an eagerness to learn how to treat sores and wounds themselves. In villages and towns across North Africa she became known as ‘Al Toubiba’, the doctor.

Kate died in 1944 and is buried in Marrakech.

Miss Nina Hosali MBE MSc FRSA took over her mother’s work in North Africa in addition to the London end of the organisation. By 1953, over 100,000 animals were being given shelter or treated at SPANA centres.

Nina Hosali died in England in January 1987.

The fruits of 16 years of work in North Africa, initiated by the mother and daughter team of Kate and Nina Hosali were being harvested in 1939, but were about to be undone by events beyond their control.

It took some time for the ripples of World War II to cross from mainland Europe into North Africa, but by 1940 SPANA began to experience the full effects. One of the first signs was an increase in the work – the requisitioning of motor vehicles had meant that animals of all ages were being pressed into service, even the old, sick and ill. Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia all came under the control of the Vichy authorities after France fell to the German Army in 1940.

SPANA endured niggling inconveniences at first – vans and ambulances were commandeered, communication with London was difficult with letters taking months to arrive if at all. But more serious problems arose both as a consequence of the British Government’s restrictions on the export of sterling, and the ability of SPANA in London to raise funds at a time when everyone was having to endure severe deprivations.

In 1942, Nina Hosali was able to send barely £100 out to North Africa to keep SPANA’s work going. Meanwhile the staff gritted their teeth, and sold both equipment and furnishings in a titanic effort to keep going – economising measures included using cabbage leaves as dressings for open sores and wounds. But things began to take a turn for the worse.

David Longstaff, SPANA’s vet in Tunis, was captured by the Nazis and sent to a series of prison camps in Italy and Germany for three years, leaving his wife and family behind… Nina Hosali served as an Air Raid Warden in London during the war…

When the Allies finally entered Tunis in 1943, everyone looked forward to an improved situation. But Nina Hosali was not able to visit North Africa until 1947, and it was 1950 before the restrictions on export of sterling were lifted…

In 1921 two British women, Kate Hosali and her daughter Nina, embarked on a six month visit to North Africa, seeking sunshine in the winter months. But their visit turned into a lifetime journey when they found many animals, especially pack animals such as donkeys, being poorly treated.

In 1923, Kate Hosali founded the Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa, acting as a vet in Africa, while Nina managed the London administration. After her mother’s death, Nina took over her work in North Africa in addition to the London end of the organisation.

By 1953, over 100,000 animals were treated or given shelter at SPANA centres. Nina was actively involved in the charity until 1984, and the charity is still thriving today. In 1976 Nina Hosali was awarded the MBE for her services to animal welfare in North Africa.

Another charity which Nina founded in 1928 was The Nature Cure Clinic (NCC). The NCC took a pioneering approach to natural medicine by offering free treatments to those who could not otherwise have afforded them.

Today complementary medicine is more mainstream and there are more places which offer affordable treatments, but in the beginning The Nature Cure Clinic was truly an innovative and visionary approach to health.

Nina had many other interests in her life, including painting (she was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts), and physical movement. She was also a supporter of the Margaret Morris Movement, and in 1981 gifted her house in Biggin Hill, Kent, to the Movement. The building is still used today.

Nina Hosali died in England in January 1987, having led a generous life which enabled both people and animals to lead happier and healthier lives because of hers. The Nature Cure Clinic after Nina.

For almost twenty years after Nina’s death The Nature Cure Clinic continued its existence as a charity, running a small clinic and offering affordable treatments. Towards the end of this time the charity, feeling that it was unable to reach out sufficiently with limited resources, began to look for a new way to follow Nina’s vision on a larger scale.

The NCC sold the building it owned to realise its assets and began work on The Village Well, a large scale project which you can read about here. Also at this time it began to work closely with the ICM. In 2007 the NCC and the ICM took the decision to merge, creating the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine…

The intention behind the Nature Cure Clinic, whose moving spirit was Nina Hosali, was to provide a centre for nature cure treatments, particularly for those of limited means. The clinic was also marked by its commitment to vegetarianism and to animal causes like anti vivisection: Miss Hosali was herself a notable campaigner for animal welfare.

In 2008 it will be eighty years since Nina Hosali established The Nature Cure Clinic in London. A lady with vision and drive, her aim was to promote the value and ethos of natural medicine together with a vegetarian lifestyle and consideration for both humans and animals.

By bringing together prominent doctors, homeopaths and other natural therapists Nina established the Clinic as something of a revolution in its time. We might call it ‘medicine without violence’; looking for natural ways to help the body and the immune system to find health and balance through what could be called ‘minimal and natural interventions’… However, some fifty years after Nina established the Clinic, other related elements were ready to develop in London and the UK. In 1981, Michael Endacott and Anthony Baird co-founded the Institute for Complementary Medicine…

Nina Hosali 1898 - 1987, daughter of a Scottish mother and Indian father (he was a bar student, but died soon after her birth), BSc and MSc at London University published a paper on mathematics in Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1923; travelled in North Africa, and in 1923 founded there with her mother the Society for the Protection of Animals in North Africa.

Came to vegetarianism initially through the animal issue but became interested in health, in 1928 found herself running the Nature Cure Clinic, continuing to do so until 1963. Awarded MBE for animal work. Involved in Margaret Morris Movement.

Nina Hosali wrote poetry, articles for the Royal Society, she researched crystals for the British Association for the Advancement of Science, she contributed to the British Journal of Photography, Nina also wrote The Children of Allah with Naomi Ellington Jacob, The Vegetarian Diet for Busy People for the London Vegetarian Society, Kate, who was Called the “Toubiba”: The SPANA Story, North African Diary,


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