Friday, 9 December 2016


This week, Project Cataloguing Archivist Rebecca looks beyond the case notes of the Royal Victoria Hospital to see what else LHSA holds on tuberculosis.

Over the past year-and-a-bit we’ve written extensively about the tuberculosis case notes which form the RVH v TB cataloguing project. But, did you know, these aren’t the only records relating to tuberculosis we have at LHSA?

East Fortune Hospital (LHB39)

East Fortune Hospital, in East Lothian, was established as a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1922, serving patients in the south east of Scotland until the 1950s, when it changed in function to house the mentally handicapped (minus a brief interlude in WWII when it functioned as an RAF airfield, and patients were transferred to Bangour Hospital).

Many of the records we hold from East Fortune deal with the hospital after its change in purpose. However, there are admissions and discharge registers from the hospital’s time as a sanatorium. These aren’t as detailed as the RVH case notes, but contain brief details about the patient’s age, occupation, length of treatment, diagnosis, and the reason for their discharge.

East Fortune Sanatorium Admissions Registers, 1922-1958 (LHB39/1/1-2)

City Hospital (LHB23)

The City Hospital was not a dedicated tuberculosis hospital, but rather was a hospital set up to treat patients suffering from infectious diseases. It is apparent from the RVH case notes that there was some relationship between the two institutions, as patients with an advanced degree of tuberculosis were often sent here. While the hospital was primarily dedicated to the treatment of patients with infectious diseases such as meningitis, diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, etc., there was a sanatorium for the treatment of TB patients.
Pavilion for advanced cases of tuberculosis, City Hospital, Edinburgh
Sanatorium registers (LBH23/3) contain details of the history and state of patients on admission and the results of their treatments. Again, they are not as detailed as the case notes, but they do provide information on the patient’s age and occupation, the duration and severity of their illness, tests and treatments given, and the result of their treatment.
Page from the  City Hospital Sanatorium Register 1941-1971 (LHB23/3/2)
Public Health Department of the City of Edinburgh (LHB16)

Edinburgh was the first Scottish local authority to appoint a Medical Officer of Health in 1862, and in 1872 a Public Health Committee was set up by the Town Council, responsible for sanitary matters and the control of infectious disease. In an earlier blog post I discussed the notification of TB patients as part of the Edinburgh Scheme; the Public Health Department is to whom the patients were notified.

We therefore hold a collection of notification registers for Edinburgh and the Lothians (LHB16/3/1), which run to as recently as 1993 (though not continually). The information collected on each register changes according to the local authority, but they include similar information to the other registers listed above.
Detail from a Tuberculosis Notification Register, 1954-1959 (LHB16/3/1/14a) 
This collection also contains a report on the state of tuberculosis in Edinburgh in 1952 (LHB16/2/82). This is only a small report, but it reflects a lot of the information contained within our case note collections.

Tuberculosis in Edinburgh report, with charts showing a decrease in TB death rates compared to a rise in notifications (LHB16/2/82)

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