Friday, 7 August 2015


This week we welcome a new Project Cataloguing Archivist. Rebecca Nielsen introduces herself and the project...

I’m now at the end of my first week working on a new Wellcome Trust funded project, ‘RVH v TB’. On this project we’re setting out to catalogue LHSA’s holdings from the Royal Victoria Hospital’s tuberculosis and diseases of the chest case notes and registers. I’ll be working on this project for 18 months, alongside Clair, and between us we will be cataloguing over 17500 case notes for patients treated for tuberculosis or other chest diseases at the Royal Victoria Hospital. There are four series of case notes and an accession of administrative materials, using a similar methodology to the one used on the Dott project. The records are:

·         Royal Victoria TB Trust, Southfield Sanatorium case files: LHB41/CC1

·         Royal Victoria Dispensary for Diseases of the Chest case files: LHB41/CC2

·         Regional Hospital Board National X-Ray Campaign case files and volumes: LHB41/CC3 and CC3A

·         Royal Victoria Dispensary for Diseases of the Chest case files: LHB41/CC4

·         RVH Patient and Administrative Records: Acc 10/030

Diagram of the Edinburgh Scheme. (LHSA Slide Collection)

The Royal Victoria Hospital was a cornerstone of the Edinburgh Scheme, which I will describe in more detail in a future post, but essentially it was the first point of contact for people with tuberculosis to receive treatment and advice on preventing the spread of the disease to others throughout the first half of the twentieth century. These records also cover the period of mass X-ray screening in the 1950-1960s, which was an important way to identify and treat diseases of the chest. These records are a valuable source of information for researchers, covering several important developments in the history of treating tuberculosis in Edinburgh, and by cataloguing these case notes we will be able to support researchers who wish to study this area.

A fundraising appeal for the Royal Victoria Hospital Sanatorium. (LHSA Slide Collection)
I’ve only been here for a few days, but I’ve already managed to squeeze in a bit of time to take a quick look at the records, in between meeting my new colleagues and trying not to get lost in the corridors! I’ve come to the project with a slight advantage, as my last post was working on a project at the Royal London Hospital Archives called “The Fight Against Tuberculosis” (here’s the blog I wrote for that project). I’m therefore already familiar with the basic information needed before tackling a project like this, such as the history of treatment and the significance of particular details, as well as the terminology and abbreviations which can be so intimidating when approaching medical archives from a non-medical background. From what I’ve seen so far, the records provide a great insight into several aspects of tuberculosis treatment, and I’m looking forward to properly getting my teeth into cataloguing them.
Advice on preventing the spread of tuberculosis, from the Royal Victoria Hospital Tuberculosis Trust. (LHSA Slide Collection)

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