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NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives

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Research Guides

Joseph Lister (1827-1912)




Introduction

Born in 1827 Lister studied medicine at University College London where he graduated MB in 1852. He subsequently moved to Edinburgh where he studied under Professor James Syme and became an assistant surgeon in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. In 1860 Lister was appointed Professor of Surgery to the University of Glasgow. He was appointed surgeon to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he developed his revolutionary antiseptic techniques, in the following year. Lister left Glasgow in 1869 to take up the position of Professor of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.


Glasgow Royal Infirmary  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14)

The archives of Glasgow Royal Infirmary include material relating to Lister’s time at the hospital. A series of clinical records document the work carried out by Lister in the Royal. These records were removed from the larger collection of the hospital’s clinical records  (NHSGGCA Ref: HH 67) and placed in the hosptial’s historical museum collection.

This material consists of ward day books, which generally only provide summary information on the patient and their treatment, and ward journals, which contain fully described cases. A register of operations is also present.

  • 1863–1865; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 10  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/5)
  • 1865–1868; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 10  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/6)
  • 1861–1863; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 7  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/7)
  • 1861–1863; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 24  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/9)
  • 1863–1865; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 24  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/10)
  • 1865–1869; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 24  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/11)
  • 1869; Ward Day Book – Male Surgical, Ward 24  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/12)
  • 1864–1865; Ward Day Book – Female Surgical, Ward 25  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/18)
  • 1865–1868; Ward Day Book – Female Surgical, Ward 25  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/19)
  • 1868–1869; Ward Day Book – Female Surgical, Ward 25  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/20)
  • 1866–1868; Ward Journal – Male Surgical, Ward 10, No. 1  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/23)
  • 1866–1869; Ward Journal – Male Surgical, Ward 10, No. 2  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/24)
  • 1866–1869; Ward Journal – Male Surgical, Ward 24, No. 1  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/25)
  • 1866; Ward Journal – Female Surgical, Ward 25, No. 1  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/26)
  • 1866–1869; Ward Journal – Female Surgical, Ward 25, No. 2  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/27)
  • 1864–1890; Register of Operations (including Lister)  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/5/28)

Other material relating to Lister in the Royal Infirmary collection includes correspondence relating to Lister’s election as surgeon to the hospital  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/6/53); copies of articles and lectures given by Lister  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/9/80); and files relating to the hospital’s collection of Lister memorabilia  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/6/101–103).

There are also a number of memoirs of, and articles on, Lister’s time in the Royal Infirmary in the collection. These include:

  • Beatson, Sir G. T., ‘An epoch–making event in the history of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary’, an address delivered to the Old Glasgow Club in 1921 on the subject of Lister’s work in the hospital  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/9/51)
  • Cameron, Sir H. C., ‘Reminiscences of Lister and of his work in the wards of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary’, (Glasgow, 1927)  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/9/99)
  • Hay, D. F., ‘Lister at the Royal’, (Glasgow, 1977)  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/9/21)

There are few photographs or paintings relating to Lister in the collection (those that are present can be found in  (NHSGGCA Ref: HB 14/8).


Further reading

Jenkinson, J., Moss, M. & Russell, I, The Royal – The History of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1794–1994, (Glasgow, 1994).

Lister had a long and distinguished career and material relating to him can be found in a number of other archives including:

For further information on these archives you should consult the UK National Register of Archives.