Friday, 29 November 2013

Exploring The Archive...

 Explore Your Archive Week kicked off at LSHTM Archives with a lunchtime Exchange of Experience featuring our Research Data Manager Gareth Knight and Archivist Victoria Cranna. Archivists and Librarians explored issues around management and preservation of research data.

Hotel Phoenix business card,  Copenhagen
Tuesday saw a very successful Gems of the Collection session on the theme of Explorers & Pioneers, held in South Courtyard.  Almost 100 staff and students browsed rare items from our collections, including details of Sir Ronald Ross's trip to Sweden to accept the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1902. Ross kept everything from his trip, including correspondence with travel agents, boat tickets, menus, hotel bills, and press cuttings. We even have an invoice from  a Swedish outfitters for a top hat, as he forgot to pack one!
We also showed  lists of food deemed essential for a stay in Ghana (Gold Coast) in 1922. The goods were ordered from the Army & Navy Co-Operative Society's Export Department, based in Victoria St, London, and were sent to Dr. JWS Macfie, then Director of the Medical Research Institute in Accra.

List of goods to be shipped to Ghana  for Dr J McFie
This list is part of the Macfie Archive, which was donated to the School by Dr. Macfie's nephew in 1984.

On Wednesday Victoria Cranna, the archivist, gave a lunchtime Tour of the Building, giving staff and students a chance to find out more about the history of LSHTM. The tour includes information on the School's origins (we were originally based in the London docks), architectural features of the current building, wartime damage, and new developments.

We finished the week with a booked-out evening viewing of 'Roads to Africa', the documentary of a 10 month expedition in 1936 to Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya led by Major Leeson, then a lecturer at LSHTM. He was accompanied by  assistant JD Gillett, who also acted as cameraman, and who added the film's voiceover shortly before his death in 1995.
The film showed fascinating footage of the team leaving Croyden Airport on their flight to Entebbe (which took 5 days), the assistants they hired, the local people they met throughout their trip, and the resilient Chevrolet car that apparently never broke down! The audience loved the archive footage of Africa in the 1930s and long-gone expedition  techniques.

Air ticket London -Entebbe 1936
Details of this and other expeditions  undertaken by LSHTM staff across the years can be found in the Archives: to find out more just contact us !

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Red Ribbon: A donation from Lyn Rothman, a friend of the School

With World AIDS Day soon approaching, it seems opportune to mention a special acquisition that the LSHTM Archive received this September. Following a visit to the archives to view the LSHTM HIV/AIDS collection by Lyn Rothman, the founder of AIDS Crisis Trust and current patron and board member of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, she kindly offered to donate a Red Ribbon pendant designed by her friend, Andrew Logan, the English artist and jewellery-maker.

We received, several weeks later, a parcel containing not only the AIDS Red Ribbon pendant designed by the artist but a note on the pendant from Andrew Logan that Lyn had asked him to write about his creation.

The pendant was designed when the first AIDS ribbons appeared and having seen many of his friends die from AIDS, Andrew felt it was a fitting celebration of their lives.

Polish AIDS awareness poster, c.1990s

The original red ribbon designed by New York-based Visual AIDS Artists Caucus in 1991 as a consciousness raising symbol, not as a commercial or trademark tool, and therefore the original creators wished to remain anonymous and the image is free of copyright.

The first red ribbon worn publicly was by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards and soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness, becoming adopted as the symbol of World AIDS Day that same year.

To read more about the history of the Red Ribbon please visit:

Thursday, 21 November 2013

World AIDS Day Events at LSHTM Archives

For this year's World AIDS Day the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine archives will be hosting two events on the 2nd December 2013.

World AIDS Day: Global Visions

Monday 2rd December, 6pm-7pm, Manson Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT

Evening seminar presenting the HIV/AIDS poster collections held by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine archive and the Wellcome Library.  The Wellcome Library holds one of the world’s largest digitised AIDS poster collections, with over 3000 posters. The LSHTM archives holds sizable collection of its own along with collected campaign ephemera and collected papers. Through the combined archives we shall explore changing attitudes to the disease and the dramatically contrasting cultural attitudes to sex from across the globe.

This joint event organised by the Wellcome Library and the LSHTM Archive will explore the digital and physical poster series of both collections and explore the key themes and contexts of these poster collections through our speakers, Professor Kay Wellings, Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health Research at LSHTM and donor of the LSHTM poster collection and Julia Nurse, Content Officer at the Wellcome Library and cataloguer of the Wellcome AIDS poster collection.

World AIDS Day: Gems of the HIV/AIDS Collection

Monday 2nd December, 12-2pm, Manson Lecture Foyer, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT

The archives and rare book collections will showcase a display of library and archive material from our extensive HIV/AIDS collections. This includes posters, badges, condoms and other ephemera from the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health (CSRH) collection; UK HIV/AIDS campaign material from the AIDS Social History Programme (1988-1994) and the archives of LSHTM Director, Peter Piot, whose archives reflect his the twenty five year experience in combating HIV/AIDS epidemic as both an epidemiologist and then as Executive-Director of UNAIDS, 1996-2008. 

The event is free and open to all. For more information about the World AIDS Day events or the HIV/AIDS archive collection please contact us,

Selection of ephemera from the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health collection

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

World Toilet Day: Dr James Balfour Kirk's guide to excretion in the tropics

To celebrate World Toilet Day we thought it would be appropriate to quickly highlight one of our archival manuscripts on sanitary care in the tropics. Written by Dr James Balfour-Kirk to his godson who was travelling through the tropics with his family in 1925, Kirk provides a candid point by point guide to surviving in the tropics including chapters on personal hygiene, keeping cool, rest and disease and the disposal of excreta. It is the latter that it seems appropriate to dwell on with Balfour-Kirk describing the ‘Filth Diseases’ such as ‘Cholera, the dysenteries and typhoid fever, [as] preventable diseases, yet they are the cause of enormous loss of life in the tropics’. He elaborates by adopting a military analogy to describe the course of typhoid: how it lurks in silence in the tissues before composing itself for a final assault leading to a ‘Battle Royal’ that leaves the victim physically prostrate and persists for several weeks followed by a long period of convalescence, or the 'post-war reconstruction period', which Balfour-Kirk describes as a “bloody waste of time”.

He apologetically explains that filth diseases can only be contracted by eating and drinking “infected excrement within a comparatively short time after it has been voided by a patient or a carrier of the disease”. He admonishes himself for the “brutally crude” way of expressing himself before outlying the universal soil pollution that persists in the tropics where human excrement is used for fertilizer and water supplies are easily contaminated and everything is exacerbated by domestic flies (they have their own chapter).

The only solution is to boil all water to be used and cook all your food thoroughly. He adds finally that you shouldn't forget to boil your ‘tooth water’ e.g. water for brushing your teeth. Make sure the house boy is not the "lazy type" and provides clean water by testing him, by adding a few drops of eau-de-Cologne in the toilet water jug in the morning and seeing if it smells of cologne in the evening. If it doesn't, Balfour-Kerr suggests you may “have up” the “house-boy as the occasion and the custom of the country permits’.

Whilst, the manuscript is very much a product of the colonial era, the persistence of water-borne infections and the importance of functioning latrines is still as relevant today as it was then. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Explore Your Archive Week coming up

Next week is the launch of Explore Your Archive 2013, and LSHTM archives are taking part.
  • Tuesday 19th November - 12-2pm - South Courtyard 

Drop  by South Coutyard at lunchtime on 19th and learn more about our historic collections, including a chance to see the mosquito box that was used to transport malarial insects from Rome to London for use by Sir Patrick Manson in 1901, Sir Ronald Ross' microscope from 1890s, plus details of his journey to accept the Nobel prize for Medicine in 1902.

You can also see a handrawn map from 1910 showing the distribution of sleeping sickness in East Africa, rare books from the library's collection, and find out details of camping equipment bought by School staff for expeditions in the 1930s, plus much more!

This  session is also open to members of the public: you just need to sign in on the door.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Wartime at LSHTM exhibition

An exhibition to mark Remembrance Day (11 November) is now on display in the Library exhibition area. Designed as a tribute to staff and students who have served in or been affected by war, the exhibition features photographs, official war records and reports from the School’s archive collections. ‘Wartime at LSHTM’ includes material relating to the activities of the School and the roles of staff, students and associated individuals during the First and Second World Wars.

School staff and students in 1916

Bomb damage to the School  in 1941
Highlights include photographs and documents recording: Sir Ronald Ross’s military service in Alexandria in 1917; an extract from Ross’s memoir where he records his experience of serving as a consultant on malaria and dysentery during the First World War; the bombed Keppel Street building in 1941 and work of former School staff, Dean Smith and AW Woodruff, on malnutrition in prisoner of war camps in Hong Kong and Singapore during the Second World War.

The Archives Service is in the early stages of planning an exhibition that will go in display in the foyer of Keppel Street to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First War World in July 2014. This will focus on War and Health and use material from our collections to highlight the work that School staff have done during conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries. Please contact the Archives Service for further information at

Monday, 4 November 2013

Top 10 downloads from LSHTM Research Online - October 2013

This month's top 10 downloaded papers from LSHTM Research Online, the School’s publically accessible database of LSHTM research. 

1. Michael, M; King, L; Guo, L; McKee, M; Richardson, E; Stuckler, D; (2013) The mystery of missing female children in the caucasus: an analysis of sex ratios by birth order. International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 39 (2). pp. 97-102.

2. Goodman, A; Panter, J; Sharp, SJ; Ogilvie, D; (2013) Effectiveness and equity impacts of town-wide cycling initiatives in England: A longitudinal, controlled natural experimental study. Social science & medicine.

3. Nyanzi, Stella; (2008) Negotiating scripts for meaningful sexuality an ethnography of youths in the Gambia. PhD thesis

4. Antithrombotic Trialists' (ATT), Collaboration; Baigent, C; Blackwell, L; Collins, R; Emberson, J; Godwin, J; Peto, R; Buring, J; Hennekens, C; Kearney, P; +4 more... (2009) Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials. Lancet, 373 (9678). pp. 1849-60.
5. Dangour, AD; Watson, L; Cumming, O; Boisson, S; Che, Y; Velleman, Y; Cavill, S; Allen, E; Uauy, R; (2013) Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online), 8. CD009382.

6. Ederle, J; Dobson, J; Featherstone, RL; Bonati, LH; van der Worp, HB; de Borst, GJ; lo, TH; Gaines, P; Dorman, PJ; MacDonald, S; +337 more... (2010) Carotid artery stenting compared with endarterectomy in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis (International Carotid Stenting Study): an interim analysis of a randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 375 (9719). pp. 985-997.

7. Pathai, S; (2013) Does HIV accelerate the aging process? An assessment of clinical, ophthalmic and serum parameters in HIV-infected individuals in South Africa. PhD thesis

8. Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration (inc Fletcher, AE; ) Sarwar, N; Gao, P; Seshasai, SR; Gobin, R; Kaptoge, S; Di Angelantonio, E; Ingelsson, E; Lawlor, DA; Selvin, E; +9 more... (2010) Diabetes mellitus, fasting blood glucose concentration, and risk of vascular disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of 102 prospective studies. Lancet, 375 (9733). pp. 2215-22.

9. Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration,(inc Fletcher, AE; ); Kaptoge, S; Di Angelantonio, E; Lowe, G; Pepys, MB; Thompson, SG; Collins, R; Danesh, J; (2010) C-reactive protein concentration and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and mortality: an individual participant meta-analysis. Lancet, 375 (9709). pp. 132-40.

10. Walker, Damian; (2006) Efficiency of primary health care in low and middle-income countries : case studies from Bangladesh. PhD thesis

If you are an LSHTM author and would like find out how you can make your research available in LSHTM Research Online see our FAQs or contact us