The Gilchrist Collection

The latest collection donated to the Heritage Centre was received earlier this month from the family of Dr Edith Gilchrist, a well-known anaesthetist and highly-respected archivist and researcher.

Dr Edith Gilchrist
Dr Edith Gilchrist

Born in September 1913, Dr Gilchrist died shortly before her 100th birthday in July 2013. She qualified in 1938 at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, and within five years was resident anaesthetist at Addenbrookes Hospital, before returning to the Royal Free as staff anaesthetist in 1945. Dr Gilchrist gained the DA (Diploma in Anaesthetics) in 1942 and was awarded the FFARCS (Fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons) in 1953.

Whilst at the Royal Free, Dr Gilchrist worked with Stanley Rowbotham, the pioneering anaesthetists who helped to develop plastic surgery after the First World War, and pioneered local and intravenous anaesthesia. They became life-long friends and Dr Gilchrist arranged for his memorial plaque which now hangs in the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

Keenly interested in the history of medicine, she was a member of The Hunterian Society, The Osler Club and was the first female president of The Harveian Society. She was also the honorary archivist for the Royal Free and co-founded their archive centre which is now part of the London Metropolitan Archives.

The collection contains equipment used by Dr Gilchrist throughout her career, as well as pharmaceutical packaging and sample sets, and books with notes from both Dr Gilchrist and Stanley Rowbotham. Scroll down to see some of the objects in the collection.

 

Glass 20cc syringe in handmade case
Glass 20cc syringe in handmade case

 

Sample packaging from Roche Products Ltd. Originally contained 'hypnotic analgesics' and 'vegetable soup sedatives'.
Sample packaging from Roche Products Ltd. Originally contained ‘hypnotic analgesics’ and ‘vegetable soup sedatives’

 

Ethyl chloride from 1949. It was sprayed onto a facemask to induce anaesthesia, or applied directly to the skin as a local anaesthetic. It is still used today to treat sport injuries
Ethyl chloride from 1949. It was sprayed onto a facemask to induce anaesthesia, or applied directly to the skin as a local anaesthetic. It is still used today to treat sport injuries

 

Hypodermic needle packaging from Allen & Hanburys
Hypodermic needle packaging from Allen & Hanburys

 

Sterilising box, originally engraved 'Miss Barry'
Sterilising box, originally engraved ‘Miss Barry’
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