the British Society for the History of Radiology
Report by Dr Arpan K Banerjee Past Chair British Society for the History of Radiology
The venue of this year’s British Society for the History of Radiology annual guest lecture on the 10 Feb 2020 was again the magnificent Governor’s Hall at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. The lecture was meant to be a double act by two distinguished members of the radiography profession but as Audrey Paterson was unfortunately unable to attend Richard Price delivered the presentation.
The proposal for a society for radiographers goes back to 1918 when Albert Forder from King’s College Hospital and Cyrus Winch from St Thomas’s Hospital started making the first moves to form a society for radiographers. In the early days of radiology and radiography the professions were not strictly regulated as now and anyone from any background was able to set up the apparatus to take radiographs. The Institute of Electrical engineers approved the formation of a society of radiographic operators and Dr Hernamon Johnson wrote an article in 1919 in the Archives of Radiology and Electrotherapy proposing that this society would organise and educate the various classes of lay helpers.
Sir Robert Knox the eminent radiologist at King’s College Hospital and Sir Archibald Reid from St Thomas’s Hospital leant support to the creation of the new Society of radiographers on 6 Aug 1920 with a council meeting held on the 18 Oct in 1 Albermarle Street and Sir Archibald Reid was installed as President for 3 years. Initially 40 members were admitted without examination. In the early days there was no distinction between diagnostic and therapy radiographers. Soon examinations were introduced . Controversy about whether non medical radiographers should be allowed to report began to rage and initially it was felt that 15 years experience should allow the radiographer to provide reports although the period between 1924 and 1988 was one during which it was felt that the radiographers should not be allowed to interpret the images produced.
1926 saw the first radiographer President Harry Ede. The audience then heard about
the contributions of Dr George Kaye FRS ( Editor of the journal Radiography 1935-
In the 1960’s the society acquired new headquarters in 14 Upper Wimpole Street. It was a decade of poor working conditions and the Limbert injustice case of wrongful sacking of a radiographer was covered.
The struggles to improve the status and working conditions of the profession throughout the 60’s and 70’s were alluded to including the conflicts with Barbara Castle in the 70’s . The replacements of the diploma qualifications the HDCR with an eventual graduate profession in the 21st century and the improvements in the career structures and new roles with reporting radiographers in today’s NHS were described along with the struggles along the way.
Many in the audience had lived through the changes and it is probably true to say the progress of the radiography profession was interlinked with the changes in the NHS in general since its foundation in 1948. The relentless march of radiological progress also necessitated increased staffing which because it was not always available necessitated new working patterns and certain blurring of the professional boundaries in hospitals.
The audience were given an excellent overview of the history of the radiography profession and the political changes which were occurring in the NHS throughout this period.
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Webinar Thursday 2 July 2020
Presentations selected from the submitted abstracts
on the history of imaging(click title for slides):
History and evolution of Artificial Intelligence -
Early chest radiology pioneers and the beginnings of chest radiology -
Miss Marion Frank (1920 -
Kathleen Clara Clark (1896-
New results on biographical research on WC Röntgen
By Uwe Busch – Director, Deutsches Röntgen Museum
7pm, 8th February 2021
Free Online lecture
The lecture provides information about Röntgen's family history and his deep roots in the Bergisches Land. In addition, new insights into Röntgen's extensive image and document archive in the German Röntgen Museum will be presented.
Click here for more details, how to sign up and the A4 poster
Schüller was born in 1874 and the arc of his life mirrored the rise and decline of Austria from 1870 till 1955. The Schüller family origins lie in Bucovice and Brunn but his early medical career was spent in Berlin and at the AKH in Vienna.
In 1906 he married Margarete Stiassni, daughter of a wealthy Brunn industrialist.
In spite of severe financial constraints on the Medical School after World War I
, Arthur was closely involved in the successful graduate courses for foreign doctors
who came to learn from those who had been leading figures in establishing Vienna’s
As a Jew he was expelled from the University in 1938. His search for a home elsewhere involved fellow scholars in the USA, UK and Australia . After a spell in Oxford he settled in Australia with eventually at post at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
The Schüllers’ two sons had died in Nazi camps and this appears to have provoked Arthur's later decline into withdrawal and depression. He and Margarete lived in Heidelberg, a suburb of Melbourne, until his death in 1957.
His contribution to medical science -
The link to the video is https://youtu.be/YhRLobn-
After lockdown perhaps, visit the six museums described in Arpan Banerjee’s recent RAD Magazine article reproduced here
by Carlo Rovelli, Allen Lane 2020 p 230 £20 ISBN 9780 241454688
Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee Former Chair and current Trustee Brit Soc Hist of Radiology
Carlo Rovelli is an Italian physicist best known for his books ‘Some brief lessons in Physics’ and ‘The Order of Time’ both worldwide best sellers. In the 1960’s to the 1980’s Richard Feynman was considered the great populisers of physics, an accolade passed on to Stephen Hawking at the end of the twentieth century and now the baton is being bestowed on Carlo Rovelli. Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to the study of space and time. He is probably best known to the public however for his books popularising physics.
This new collection of his translated pieces ( translated by Erica Segra and Simon Carnell) are a delightful smorgasbord of his varied interests and are a collection of short essays previously published in a variety of Italian newspapers and periodicals. The title I think is a great one and should be applicable to the NHS!
Essay topics range from Aristotle, Copernicus and Newton through to Black Holes, global warming and scientific philosophy and even the author Nabokov’s interest in butterflies. Einstein’s many errors are the subject of an interesting piece ( if the great man made so many errors what chance do we mere mortals have?! ) Darwin gets a mention and readers will find the essay on the double Nobel Laureate Marie Curie of interest.
The essay on the brilliant British mathematician Roger Penrose written in 2011 is now of topical interest– he was awarded the Physics Nobel Prize in October 2020. Finally an essay on the current Covid pandemic written in April concludes this collection. A truly eclectic and thought provoking collection.
Rovelli in this collection of essays provides us with a glimpse of his wide interests in science, history and philosophy. The essays are short and pithy , well written and the translation has done him justice. Most people outside Italy will probably have not read them before and the collection produced here which can be dipped in and out of and provide both entertainment and education will no doubt also go on to be a bestseller like his previous books.