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.

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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.


The 25th Congress of the BSHM August 2013

The History Session at UKRC June 2014

Nervous Women…ISHRAD 2012


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

Review of History of Radiology Session  UKRC Radiology Conference 2015, June 30, Liverpool.

Reviewed by Dr Arpan K Banerjee, Chairman British Society for the History of Radiology

This year’s annual  congress was held in Liverpool and again the British Society for the History of Radiology organised  a successful  session of talks  attended by a wide range of delegates.

Opening the session was an interesting paper  by Bland et al  from the City University in London in collaboration with the London Archaeology museum. Traditionally  the Moores coding system has been used to assess maxillary and mandibular development which are macroscopic  visual methods.

The recent Crossrail project in London  enabled the assessment of a number  of children’s dental specimens to be analysed from the  Paddington street burial ground  (1771-1853) and the authors used dental panoramic and apical radiography to supplement the traditional analysis. They  concluded from their results that radiographic  assessments  could provide a more accurate assessment of age although the numbers were small and further assessment is probably needed in this area.

The next talk delivered by Prof Adrian Thomas  was about Charles Thurston Holland of Liverpool-1896 and beyond. Holland  was a Liverpool man who like many of the early pioneers started of as a general practitioner who ended up as a leading light in UK and world radiology . He collaborated with the famous orthopaedic surgeon from Liverpool  Sir Robert Jones and worked at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary.  Many of his early cases were presented and it is interesting to note his comments about poor clinical examinations being conducted by medical students and  young doctors – sentiments which echo around modern radiology departments a century later!  Holland became internationally well known following the organisation of the first international congress of radiology of which he was elected president in 1925.

Francis Duck delivered an interesting talk on the early years of radiology in Bath. James Gifford delivered a lecture on the new photography on 7Feb1896 at the Bath Photographic Society. A Bath instrument maker John Rudge carried out the first radiograph of a patient in the Royal United Hospital in March 1896. It took a further 5 years to fund a Xray service which just goes to confirm that service development  was slow all those years  ago and not a new phenomenon!  Patience and persistence win the day in the end.

The next talk delivered by  Dr S Patil  celebrated the life of Charles Dotter, the father of interventional radiology.   A professor  by the age of 32, Dotter worked at Oregon U.S.A, wrote 300 papers and is credited with doing the first peripheral angioplasty. He was a polymath with a wide range of interests including flying , mountain climbing, photography and classical music and was nominated for the Nobel Prize.

The final talk delivered by Dr Arpan K Banerjee was on ‘Vesalius , Radiology and Art’. Dec 31 2014 was the quincentenary of the birth of the world’s greatest anatomist and author  of one of the greatest medical books ever written ‘De Humanis Corporis Fabrica’ published in 1543. Anatomy  has always been the basis of radiology and illustrations from the book along with the recently published annotated version to celebrate the quincentenary were presented and the relationship of these images to modern imaging techniques were shown with particular emphasis on new works of art generated by diagnostic imaging techniques which illustrated how art , anatomy and diagnostic imaging were all intertwined and and had gone round in a full circle.

In addition to the lecture session the Society as usual hosted a stand themed around Charles Thurston Holland the Liverpool pioneer. The exhibits and old books and journals proved popular with delegates and the society thanks  Dr Adrian Thomas and others who helped on the stand for their contribution.


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.


22 FEBRUARY 2016 7pm

The Governors' Hall at St Thomas’ Hospital Westminster Bridge Road

London SE1 7EH.

Marie Curie and the origins of early

Diagnostic Radiology and Radiotherapy

Dr Allan Chapman

Science Historian and Author, Oxford University

Dr Allan Chapman is a historian of science at Oxford University. His special areas of research lie in the history of medicine and of astronomy. He came to Oxford to do his doctoral research, and has been here since 1972, attached to Wadham College, and since 2009, to Christ Church as well. In 2014, as part of its bi-centenary celebrations, Lancaster University gave him the Outstanding Alumnus Award, while in 2015, the Royal Astronomical Society awarded him its Jackson Gwilt medal. He is the author of some ten books and over 100 papers, and is currently in the final stages of his latest book; Physicians, Plagues, and Progress: A History of Western Medicine from Antiquity to Antibiotics (Lion Hudson, Oxford, forthcoming 2016)

This exciting lecture will cover the early days of radiology and radiotherapy including Roentgen’s and Marie Curie’s important pioneering contributions.

ADMISSION BY TICKET ONLY, OBTAINABLE FROM: Dr Arpan K Banerjee Consultant Radiologist by email NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 17, 2016 Tickets are free of charge. A retiring collection will be taken with a suggested donation of £5.

Annual General Meeting 6:15pm

(BSHR members only)  Light refreshments from 6pm.