Guest Post

Topical Press Agency Medical Collection

Posted on

Historic England is the public body that looks after England’s historic environment. We champion and protect historic places, helping people understand, value and care for them.


The Historic England Archive has recently discovered a collection of over 4,000 photographs taken by the Topical Press Agency. Dating from 1938 to 1943, the photographs document medicine and health care in England shortly before and during the Second World War, and immediately prior to the foundation of the National Health Service. The photographs document medical procedures, equipment, wartime hospital wards, evacuated children, patients and staff.


We are currently undertaking a project to preserve, catalogue and digitise the collection. The resulting catalogue and digital images will be made available to users online through the Historic England Archive website. The completion of this project will coincide with this year’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.


Historic England would like to track down people who may have stories to tell about working in health before the founding of the NHS or during its formative years, with the aim of recording interviews about their experiences. If you think you could contribute, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact


A patient smoking and reading a newspaper in a saline bath, whilst staff and nurses work in the background at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, 20 December 1940 [ref: MED01/01/1338]
The original caption on the reverse of the photograph reads:
The modern treatment of burns. Picture shows the patient comfortably resting in the saline bath after the dressings have been removed. He is allowed to smoke (through a holder to keep the smoke away from his eyes); can read the paper; and is given warm milk. The length of stay in the bath is from one hour upwards. On the left Sister is seen testing the salt content of the saline bath, while on the right an orderly watches the temperature control.
Copyright: Historic England



Archive-based funded PhD, University of Edinburgh

Posted on

The University of Edinburgh School of Divinity invite applications for a funded (home / EU fees and living allowance) PhD studentship based on the archive of German-Jewish neurologist Dr Ernst Levin (1887 – 1975), held by Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA), Centre for Research Collections (CRC), University of Edinburgh. The PhD would be based between the School of Divinity and the CRC.

This is an exciting opportunity for a fluent German-speaker with archival research skills to delve into an uncatalogued archive of personal and medical papers reflecting an individual’s intersection with a turbulent decade in Europe’s political and cultural history. As well as tracing a significant medical career, Levin’s archive outlines time in the military as an Assistant Surgeon in the First World War, his close personal relationships and his family’s friendships with prominent individuals in German culture, including those inside the ‘New Objectivity’ art movement. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, Levin’s archive shows a family uprooted, gradually building new lives and careers in Scotland.

The application deadline is 31 March 2018. For more details (including how to apply), please see:


Retreat hospital archive available online

Posted on
The Borthwick Institute are pleased to announce that The Retreat hospital archive has been digitised (with funding from the Wellcome Collection) and is now available online.
The Retreat Archive relates to the one of the most important institutions in the care and treatment of mental health patients. The Retreat in York was founded by the Society of Friends and opened in 1796. The archive itself is unusually complete and includes administrative, financial, staff, estate and patient records and consists of bound volumes, loose papers, maps, photographs, artefacts from the museum and a small number of paintings.
Over 650,000 digital images have been captured by the project team – amounting to about 80% of the catalogued archive (note that material relating to patients dating from 1920 to the present day was excluded from the digitisation project).
There is a wealth of material in the archive that can be used for research. To get a flavour of some of the interesting things that staff have encountered whilst working on the project read some of our blog posts:
Or dive into The Retreat catalogue and follow the links that are available to the digital content hosted by the Wellcome Collection.

New online resource: ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’

Posted on
Members may be interested to know of a new project, ‘Railway Work, Life & Death’, a joint initiative of the University of Portsmouth & the National Railway Museum:

The website features the extensive database of railway worker accidents in the UK between 1911 and 1915. It provides insight into the working conditions on Britain’s railways around the time of the First World War, including addressing issues around the nature of railway work, what actually happened in practice, and changing understandings of occupational health and safety and relationships between employees, employers, unions and the state.

There are also a range of resources, including a regularly updated blog exploring cases from the database, all of which help contextualise work and life in what was one of the UK’s largest and most dangerous industries.
The Twitter feed is also part of the project and features regular content: @RWLDproject

HSRAA Annual Conference 2018 and Pre-Conference Workshop Tickets NOW ON SALE

Posted on

Members may be interested in the Health Sciences Records and Archives Association (The HSRAA) Annual Conference is being held between 25th April and 27th April 2018 in Brighton.


To find out more about the agenda, click here.

To find out more about the venue and location, click here and to find out more about accommodation and travel, click here.

The conference will open at 09:00am on 26th April 2018 with the day closing around 5:00pm. Day 1 is followed at 7:00pm with a drinks reception and conference dinner.

On Friday 27th April 2018 there is full programme of presentations throughout the day with the conference ending at 3:00pm to allow plenty of time for delegates to get to the airport for their return flights or other transportation home.

The agenda is currently under development and will include a range of presentations covering topics of interest to records managers, archivists and related functions in healthcare / life sciences. The HSRAA currently has confirmed expert speakers from industry and regulators, including the MHRA and EMA. Six panel sessions have been scheduled for the two days.

Thursday 26th April 2018
Document Management
Digital Archiving

Friday 27th April 2018
GxP Data Integrity
Legal and Intellectual Property


For more information please check the HSRAA website (