Alt Ref NoLH/RA
TitleRecords of the Radiotherapy Department [formerly the Electrical Department and X-Ray Department]
DescriptionThe subfonds contains records of the Radiotherapy Department including registers of patients, machine books and miscellaneous records.
Date1903 - 2001
Related MaterialAdditional records of radiotherapy 1905 - 1952 are listed under London Hospital patient records (ref RLHLH/M/4/11-22, 31). The department's services transferred to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 2001.
Administrative historyThe Radiotherapy Department developed out of the Hospital's Electrical Department, also known as the X-Ray Department, which was established in 1896. The X-Ray Department was located from 1897 in a tin hut in the hospital garden, until in 1903 it was transferred to a part of the new Outpatient Department. The department was divided into two parts - Dr James H. Sequeira was in charge of Finsen lights, which produced ultraviolet light, for the treatment of skin conditions such as rodent ulcers [basal cell carcinoma], ringworm, and lupus vulgaris [tuberculosis of the skin]. Sequeira, who had worked in Vienna with Professors Schiff and Freund, carried out radiotherapy on a patient suffering from rodent ulcer in the department in 1900 and published results of 12 similar cases in 1901 (see Hope-Stone, HF: A history of radiotherapy at the London Hospital 1896-1996, RLHREF/881).
The second part of the department was used for x-rays for diagnostic purposes and treatment of conditions other than those of the skin, where Ernest Harnack, Reginald Blackall and Harold Suggars worked. Until 1908 radiographers x-rayed their own hands every time the machinery was used to check that the x-ray tube was working, and all three men later required amputation of their hands for radiation induced tumours. They later became known as the 'X-ray martyrs'.
Until 1943 the X-Ray Department included both radiodiagnosis and radiotherapy; at this date the work split into two separate departments.
Access statusRestricted
Access ConditionsSome material is restricted. This is noted at file or item level in the catalogue.
Arrangement of the recordsThe subfonds takes the following arrangement:

RLHLH/RA/1 Case books, registers of patients, etc.
RLHLH/RA/2 Machine registers
RLHLH/RA/3 Records of departmental meetings
RLHLH/RA/4 Reports, statistical and planning records
RLHLH/RA/5 Financial records
RLHLH/RA/3 Miscellaneous
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