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’

World War Two Objects

The Anaesthesia Heritage Museum has been very popular lately and has received several donations of books and objects over the last few weeks.

As we will start a series of exhibitions looking at anaesthesia in wartime in a few months time, we are very grateful to the family of Dr O P Dinnick for their recent donation.

Dr Dinnick served as an anaesthetist in the Second World War in the RAF and was posted in North Africa and Italy, supporting the 8th Army. The donated objects are a small medical kit, made by the Army Medical Service. Designed to be worn on a belt, it contains forceps, tweezers, a tiny thermometer and glass ampoules of catgut and surgical thread. There is also a china Red Cross feeding cup, which was used with patients who were unable to leave their beds.

Army Medical Kit LDBOC 2014.3
Dr Dinnick’s Army Medical Kit, c.1939-1947
Army Medical Kit LDBOC 2014.3.1
Some of the kit’s contents
DSCF1181
Mixed with water and methylated spirit, this tube made a tincture of iodine to sterilise the skin.
DSCF1179
Catgut, sterilised in alcohol, was used for stitching wounds. This vial was manufactured in Milan.
Feeding Cup LDBOC 2014.2
The Red Cross feeding cup
Feeding Cup LDBOC 2014.2.2
The feeding cup from above

New Exhibition

The Heritage Centre may be closed for a few more days, but you can now see our new exhibition at BMA House in Tavistock Square!

 

The display looks at Charles King, the founder of the Anaesthesia Museum, and includes some of his original equipment, inventions and photos. Though not a doctor, Charles King had a huge impact on anaesthesia in the 20th century and worked with many well-known figures to develop life-saving equipment.

 

Images from Charles King display
Images from Charles King display
The Charles King Display
The Charles King Display
Facepieces and Inhalers
Facepieces and Inhalers
Facepieces, Inhalers and Anaesthetic Apparatus
Facepieces, Inhalers and Anaesthetic Apparatus
McKesson Model J anaesthesia machine and Minnitt gas/air machine
McKesson Model J anaesthesia machine and Minnitt gas/air machine