Archives

The Gwent Archives Hospital and Health Records Cataloguing Project

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In November 2017, Gwent Archives was generously awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Grant to catalogue our unlisted hospital and medical collections.

Our project ‘From “A Penny in the Pound” to “Free at the Point of Delivery”: Cataloguing the pre- and post-1948 hospital records of Monmouthshire’ started in May and will run for a year. It is led by a full-time project archivist who will catalogue the unlisted medical collections and retro-convert any existing card catalogues using our collection management software.

The project archivist will be joined in the latter half of the project by a part-time preservation assistant who will clean and package the newly listed records. Our aim is that catalogues for all of our hospital and health records collections will be complete, standardised and feature on the Gwent Archives website by the end of the project.

The collections to be newly catalogued represent a broad range of archival documents that relate to the provision of hospital and health services in (old) Monmouthshire during the 20th century. They include registers; plans; statistics; minutes and staff records from various hospitals in the county. Our work will make the following collections accessible to researchers of all disciplines:

  • The Obstetric Morbidity & Mortality Reports of obstetrician Dr Leonard Alexander Ogilvie of St James Hospital, Tredegar and Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny. Dr Ogilvie compiled these reports between the years of 1946-1979 and they contain a wealth of statistical information on incidents such as still-births, forceps deliveries and complicated labours.

  • Records of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. This large 20th century collection is representative of a number of hospitals in Monmouthshire including the Tredegar Park Cottage Hospital which had close connections with Aneurin Bevan and inspired his development of the NHS. It predominantly contains records which reflect the day to day running and activities of the hospitals, for example, ward reports; admission registers and operation books.
  • Caerphilly District Miners’ Hospital. This is a mid-late 20th century collection of maternity records which includes case registers; daily report books and birth registers.
  • A small but varied collection from Monmouth General Hospital containing some fascinating turn of the century archives including a photograph of the medical officers in 1903 and the architect’s design sketches for the new hospital building.
  • The Midwives Records 1943-1968 collection comprising of the professional records of a number of district midwives working in Monmouthshire during this period. The archive includes maternity case registers; drugs books and patient records.
  • A large collection of Hospital Plans representing a variety of Monmouthshire hospitals including the Royal Gwent Hospital and Pen y Fal asylum. The plans reveal the structural designs for the new main buildings and additional wards or departments that were built during the 20th century.

These records, alongside Gwent Archives wider hospitals and health collection are significant on both a local and national scale as they detail the administration and operational practices of hospitals in Monmouthshire during a period of great change in healthcare due to the Great War, increasing use of drugs in medical practice and the birth of the NHS. As closure periods pass, researchers will also benefit from the wealth of personal and professional information on people, places and institutions that these documents contain.
As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, it is our hope that the improved access to these collections made possible by this project will inspire further academic and public interest in the history of hospitals and healthcare in Monmouthshire.
Please see our blog for more information and updates about the project:

https://apennyinthepound.wordpress.com

 

Clare Jeremy
Project Archivist

Archives

Medicine and Health in Leeds, 1760-1999: A Cataloguing Project

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Louise Piffero, Archivist (Medical Collections), Leeds University Library Special Collections and Galleries


 

In May 2018, Leeds University Library Special Collections celebrated the completion of a major project to catalogue our medical collections. The two-and-a-half-year project was generously funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Grant. We’re very pleased to announce that all of the new catalogues are now available online, and the collections themselves can be accessed in our Reading Room.

Over the past 30 months, our small team of a Project Archivist, Project Assistant and Project Conservator have been hard at work cataloguing, digitising and preserving these archives.

We’ve created new catalogues for 13 separate archive collections, adding over 3000 new record descriptions onto our online catalogue. Digitisation has also been a large part of our project. 65 individual manuscripts totalling over 23,000 pages have been digitised and are available to view online.

Conservation needs have varied for the many different types of documents and objects in the collections. Everything has been repackaged into hundreds of standard and bespoke archive boxes and folders. Other items have also been cleaned and undergone minor paper repairs where necessary. 34 manuscripts have received conservation treatment.

The fascinating archives included in the project chart different aspects of the history of medicine and health in Leeds since the 18th century:

  • Firstly, The Leeds General Cemetery Company Archive, which consists of the administrative and burial records for the cemetery dating from its opening in 1835 up until its closure in the 1960s. The 25 burial registers have been digitised and transcribed, and are accessible to search via the Leeds General Cemetery Burial Registers Index. The online Index can be used to find details of individuals, but there are also options to browse full lists of all the recorded causes of death and occupations and view graphs of key statistics from the data.
  • The Leeds School of Medicine Archive. The records date right back to its creation in 1831 and up to the present day. The archive is not only made up of administrative material – there are also objects, records relating to individual staff and students, and a series of catalogues for the Pathological Museum.
Leeds General Cemetery Burial Registers Index: Example Entry Page. Reproduced with the permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library.

 

 

MS 1656: Leeds General Infirmary Nurse Training Registers shelf. Reproduced with the permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library.

 

  • Leeds was a centre for innovation in the fields of renal medicine and urology, and the archives of two surgeons can reveal this history. These are the Leslie Pyrah Archive and the Frank Maudsley Parsons Archive. Pyrah became director of the Medical Research Council Unit in Leeds and set up the first artificial kidney unit in the UK at the LGI. Parsons was head of the unit and performed the first kidney dialysis at the Infirmary in 1956.
  • Casebooks and papers of a number of individual surgeons, many of which have also been digitised. These include William Hey (1736-1819), Sir Berkeley G.A. Moynihan (1865-1936), and Arthur Fergusson McGill (1846-1890). In addition, we have catalogued the papers of Thomas Scattergood (1826-1900), who was the first Dean of the Yorkshire College of Science Medical Department and a forensic toxicologist. Further individual manuscripts have been listed as part of the Medical Manuscripts Collection.
  • The Bragg Family Collection contains the notebook of Sir William Henry Bragg and his son, Sir (William) Lawrence Bragg, detailing experiments made in connection with research on X-rays and the molecular structure of crystals at the University of Leeds in 1913. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915.
Leeds School of Medicine Objects After Conservation. Reproduced with the permission of Special Collections, Leeds University Library.

The project has helped us to forge new relationships with academics across the University of Leeds, where we have been able to support research projects, provide student internships, and offer introductory sessions to the medical archives for specific teaching modules. We’ve also been able to showcase lots of the medical collections at different public events, including our monthly Tuesday Treasure event which is held in our Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery.

Even though the project is finished, we will continue to focus on our medical collections. To find out more, check out the Leeds University Library Blog: https://leedsunilibrary.wordpress.com/

Archives

Workshop on wearable medical device data, 23 July, King’s College London

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Workshop on wearable medical device data
23 July 2018, 09.30-16.00
Great Hall, King’s College London

The Health Archives and Records Group is hosting a free, day-long workshop on data collected by wearable medical devices. These range from simple blood pressure monitoring devices used by keep-fit enthusiasts to clinical equipment used in the more complex care of patients with chronic, difficult to manage conditions such as Type 1 diabetes and lung disease. This is a rapidly evolving technology with major sensitivity concerns, and so records managers and archivists with responsibility for health related data in the NHS, private health care, pharmaceuticals, university and other sectors may find this workshop particularly useful.

The day will include quick-fire talks from device manufacturers and service providers, records managers, researchers, policy advisors and others, and will cover the creation and management of data, ethical and legal concerns, storage, digital preservation and re-use of data for research or other purposes. There will also be practical sessions, discussion and debate around current issues, likely future developments and next steps for the implementation of appropriate and sustainable standards and protocols around this data.

Confirmed speakers to date:

Dr Natalie Banner (‘Understanding Patient Data’ project, Wellcome Trust)

Professor Patricia Grocott (Professor of Nursing Technology and Innovation, King’s College London)

Dr Martyn Harris (Institute of Coding, Birkbeck University)

Tim Kendall (UK Caldicott Guardian Council and Chair of the London Caldicott Guardian Network)

Dr Rebecca Lynch (Research Fellow (Medical Anthropology), London School of Hygiene and Tropic Medicine)

Russell Joyce (Health Sciences Records and Archives Association)

Chris Robson (Entrepreneur and CEO of ‘Living With…’ condition management platform)

Full programme and further details to follow.

 

If you are interested in booking one of the remaining places at the event, please contact Clare Button at Clare.Button@ed.ac.uk

Archives

Moving the RCS Archives

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Louise King: Archivist, The Royal College of Surgeons of England

In June 2017 the archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (the College/ RCS) moved to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA)…well, most of them did…and they haven’t moved forever…it’s a long story but I will try to keep it brief!

In May 2015, I attended my first meeting to discuss how we would move the archive collections out of the building, where to, for how long, and how we would prepare them for this upheaval. Over the next two years I attended a lot of meetings, counted a lot of things relating to archives and was grateful to a lot of very hardworking individuals. Don’t get me wrong, the work on the archives didn’t suddenly start that day in 2015, it had been going on since the start of the century when the College appointed its first professional archivist, but the prospect of a move makes you think about things differently.

As well as the archives, the library and the museums needed to move the majority of their collections out too, but my focus was the archives. The reason for the move was that, by 2015, the College was made up of parts that had mostly gone up since the 1950s (the only 19th century parts were the portico, the Library and the entrance hall) and was no longer fit for the College’s activities and staff in the 21st century.

Preparation:
Our small team already carried out the processing, including basic repackaging when required, and promotion of the archives. Our archive collections (a mix of the College’s own papers and those relating to the history of surgery) were housed in a number of rooms in the basement (of course!) of the College. They weren’t perfect but they were adequate. With the prospect of the College being largely knocked down and rebuilt, and relying on other people to work with our collections, we now had to look at the collections and what we did with a different eye.  We had to consider questions such as: are the collections packaged well enough to protect them during journeys in a van and are the box labels correct and clear if you aren’t familiar with our collections? Every archive has labels that have been amended but not printed off again, yet, but when other people will be handling the boxes for you, suddenly these potentially confusing labels appeared to be on every other box!

Conservator Kostas Tsafaridis showing the Archives team how to make phase boxes

In May 2015 we were a team of just 1.5 people (with occasional volunteers) but to prepare for the move we took on someone to backfill the daily tasks for me and a cataloguer. The meetings I attended were largely to discuss the logistics not only of our own move, but to ensure that we didn’t clash with the library or museums as well as the rest of College. We also had to make the arrangements for the off-site storage with our new partners.

We decided that using barcodes on the archive boxes would be beneficial both during the move and for tracking future movements. Tablets and scanners were bought, each pair of barcodes were put on a short and a long side of each box. We then scanned the barcodes into an Excel spreadsheet because we were unable to scan straight into Adlib.

Harrow Green unloading the first cages of archive boxes at LMA

We used Harrow Green for the moves of the archives and of the library. For the archives we just used them on moving days but the library also used them to help with packing up the books (wrapping in tissue, moving to temporary locations). We all agreed how fantastic the team working on our project were!

The Move:
The moving days were possibly the easiest part of the whole project. Most of the archives were moved during one warm week in June. Three days were spent shuttling between the College (near Holborn) and the LMA (Clerkenwell) and one day going out to TNA at Kew. Archives staff were at each end to oversee the Harrow Green staff loading boxes into cages, onto and then off the vans before going onto their new shelves.

Archivists Sophie Gibbs and Fahema Begum with trollies ready to relocate

They felt like long days! Harrow Green like to start early, to get as many van loads done as they safely can in a day, so we took it in turns to be in early and rotated the other posts.

The shelves at LMA were already barcoded and we have put barcodes on the shelves we are using at TNA, so once boxes were unloaded, the barcode on their new shelf was scanned into the spreadsheet.

Post-move:
You’d think that the rest of the summer would have been quiet and an anti-climax. I was now an archivist separated from the bulk of her archives (without the means to provide access) and the rest of the College was gradually being packed up. But that meant that people started finding “things” for the archives so we had to start a new series of “uncatalogued” boxes (which we then moved along with the office contents in September). We also needed that time to input the new locations into the catalogue. All too soon, we were moving out of our office at the College, the Library was no longer “ours” as the whole building was handed over to the contractors, and we moved our last boxes over to LMA.

The Library just before it was handed over to the contractors in September 2017

The last of the (archives, library and museums) project staff left in August. The Archives team is back to 1.5 people working in both Holborn and at LMA.. The current situation takes a lot of explaining to some people but our researchers are gradually venturing to Clerkenwell where LMA staff retrieve the boxes and invigilate the Archives Study Area. The arrangements all seem to be working well so far.

The Future:
The architects are hard at work on the plans. Knowing that we will only have a fraction of the on-site storage that we used to, we are making plans for long-term off-site storage and retrievals. While the Library and the front of the College won’t be changing much, their use will be. This means that we are now planning a search room from scratch. It will be smaller (we used to have the whole Library) but will be easier to invigilate and provide services for researchers. The College is due to re-open in 2020.

If anyone reading this is planning a move, particularly of cross-domain collections, do get in contact as we would be happy to share our experiences and lessons learned.

Archives

McCarthy Award for History of Medicine Research

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Eligibility

This award is open to all researchers in the history of medicine, or related social and cultural history fields. Researchers can be based in the United Kingdom or overseas. Please be aware that for overseas finalists, travel expenses to the event will only be paid from their point of entry into the United Kingdom.

Application and Selection Procedure

Research must be unpublished and must have been undertaken in the last 3 years. Research which has been submitted for publication will be considered, but details should be given of when and where it has been submitted, and if it has been accepted for publication. Abstracts must be based on original research in the field.

The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018.

Abstracts must be submitted in either PDF or Word format along with a completed application form and curriculum vitae. The abstract must not exceed 1000 words in length. The curriculum vitae must not exceed two sides of A4.

Applicants, if chosen, must be willing to present their research on Friday 19 October 2018. This is a public event, to encourage engagement with the history of medicine in Scotland.

The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh will publish the winning paper. The winner will also be asked to submit a guest blog post on their research for publication on the College’s heritage blog.

The award can only be awarded to an individual once.

Further Information

Any enquiries can be directed to Iain Milne (link sends e-mail) 0131 247 3625