The British Society for the History of Radiology


Adrian Thomas’s short history of radiology is a good start to finding out  about its fascinating past. Other accounts can be found through the History tab above.


The European Society for Radiology, in cooperation with ISHRAD  and the Deutches Roentgen Museum have published two excellent free books entitled The Story of Radiology to celebrate the International Day of Radiology. Click here for Volume 1 and here for Volume 2.

Two books by BSHR Council members have been published in the last few months. Adrian Thomas and Arpan Banerjee’s History of Radiology has been published by OUP and IPEM have published Francis Duck’s Physicists and Physicians –A History of Medical Physics from the Renaissance to Röntgen.

Details through the Books tab above or click here.


Our occasional journal The Invisible Light is available to members and in libraries on publication. Pdf versions of many back issues are available on the website. Click the Journal tab above to access them.

The current issue, No. 39, has an important review from Richard Mould….

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The aim of the Society is to stimulate interest in the History of Radiology and artefacts, for the benefit of the members and the public. We are supported by numerous professional bodies and are a registered charity:  Charity Number 1012505. For more details click on the BSHR tab.  Email


The British Institute of Radiology has produced a short film about the history of radiology during World War 1.  BIR past-president, Professor Andrew Jones, interviews  Adrian Thomas about the important role of radiology during the war and some of the major figures during that period. The film features some interesting artefacts.

Find it here.


Dr Paul Frame  has built up a museum at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Tennessee that covers many aspects of atomic and nuclear history: measuring instruments, particularly those for health physics, are well represented but there is a wide-ranging collection of documents. It contains some artefacts of radiology and much of it is online.

Below: x-ray goggles c.1930 from the website


The 25th Congress of the BSHM August 2013

The History Session at UKRC June 2014

Nervous Women…ISHRAD 2012


The Radiological Society of North America is celebrating its 100th annual meeting in December this year. As part of the celebration their website has an article Preserving, Celebrating Radiology’s Revolutionary Road that you may enjoy. The RSNA’s dedicated centennial website will soon be operational but you can find plenty about their history on their main website


Francis Duck’s  ISHRAD lecture in Vienna 8 March 2014 in pdf form. It’s nearly 40 MB

Military Radiology Before & During the First World War 1896-1918

Richard  Mould

In early 1896, very soon after the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in Würzburg on  8 November 1895, many radiographs were published in books and journals showing bony fractures, and also foreign bodies embedded in skulls, hands, arms, legs and feet. Several of these cases related to injuries caused during warfare and the earliest textbooks always made some mention of the applications of the new rays in warfare. Descriptions are given of some of the early X-ray apparatus used in warfare and practical experiences such as the difficulty of setting up facilities for developing X-ray films and the difficulty of obtaining electrical power for the apparatus. Military radiology in the Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902, was the first to be very well documented in medical journals. By the time of WWI motor vehicles specially designed for deployment just behind the battle front so that radiology services would be available as quickly as possible. These were used by most of the combatant countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the USA. These mobile X-ray ambulances included the so-called Little Curies used by Marie Sklodowska Curie, who with her daughter Irène acting as her assistant also taught military radiology to technicians in the American army.  


2-5 September 2015 BSHM congress at the Weetwood Hall, Leeds with a visit to the Thackary Museaum. More..

21-24 September 2016 29th ICR in Argentina