Friday, 8 May 2015

Things that go bump in the night

It's all go with the Norman Dott project here at LHSA… Not only is Aline working hard to catalogue Second World War records from the Bangour Brain Injuries Unit, but we’ve had a change in personnel in the main project as Clair Millar takes over as Project Cataloguing Archivist.

The Dott theme also continues this month because Louise will be talking about the some surprising finds in the records of the Bangour Brain Injuries Unit at the Festival of Museums ( on Sunday 17 May. The Festival of Museums is a weekend packed with heritage events, showcasing the amazing and (in many cases) surprising secrets that Scotland’s museums and archives hold.

One theme this year is ‘dark Edinburgh’, and Louise will be talking about the medical impact of what happened when the city’s lights went out as a consequence of the blackout imposed during the Second World War. LHSA’s collection of case notes from the Bangour Brain Injuries Unit reflect these bumps and scrapes (of varying severity!) in the military and military auxiliary staff who were treated there for the head injuries that so often ensued, and Louise will be telling some of these stories – redacted for confidentiality, of course! Readers can only access these files with special permission, so Louise’s talk is a rare chance to learn about what sorts of cases these files hold.

A typical case file from Norman Dott’s time in the Brain Injuries Unit at Bangour (our reference LHB40 CC/2/PR3.706)

As you may know from previous blogs (, Norman Dott worked at Bangour from 1939, when he developed a specialist unit to treat brain injury and neurological disorders in military personnel. As Consultant in Neurosurgery to the Army in Scotland, Dott saw a range of military patients, from high-ranking officers to cadets and ATS auxiliaries. Although you’d expect injuries of this time to always be incurred on the field of battle, Dott’s practice demonstrated that this was far from the case, and that the war could be hazardous in small, everyday ways that are not at all obvious at first.
You can book free places for Louise’s talk from the Festival of Museum webpages: Our colleagues in the Centre for Research Collections, the University of Edinburgh Anatomy Museum and Surgeon’s Hall are also getting involved with some ghoulish events, activities and performances. You can plan your Dark Edinburgh weekend here:

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