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Reference GC/127
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Level Collection
Extent 5 boxes
Title Lane, Sir William Arbuthnot
Date 1880-1956
Ordering Instructions This archive record describes a grouping of orderable items: to order any of them for consultation, order copies or view them if they have been digitised, navigate down the archive hierarchy to Item level.
Name Lane, Sir William Arbuthnot (1856-1948)
Description Autobiographical notes, scrapbook, reprints and biographical material.
Historical Background

A consultant at Guy's Hospital, London, Lane was an innovative surgeon, the first to reintroduce Paré's practice of removing a portion of rib to treat empyema. He evolved the no-touch technique for surgical operations, which enabled him to treat fractures of the long bones by open operation with advantage and safety. In 1900 he introduced sterile caps, masks and gloves to operations at Guy's.

He caused controversy in using internal fixations for fractures which could be treated by conservative methods, and by his flap method of operating on cleft palate in infants, but most controversial of all were his views on 'intestinal stasis', and his advocacy of removal of the colon, which subject occupied six meetings of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1913. The text of the discussion is included in this collection (Ref B/11).

Lane was made a baronet after successfully operating on a member of the royal family in 1913. During the First World War, he was involved in the the organisation of Queen Mary's Hospital at Sidcup for the treatment of deformities of the face resulting from wounds. Due to the shortage of personnel at Guy's, he did not retire until 1920.

After his retirement, convinced that most disease is due to 'defective diet and bad habits', Lane founded the New Health Society to publicise his theories on internal stasis and his ideas about healthy diet, posture and excercise. In order to write and publish without contravening the rules of the General Medical Council, Lane had his name removed from the Medical Register in 1933. Lane died in 1948.

Acquisition Details The papers and publications catalogued here were given to the Wellcome Library in 1991 by three granddaughters of Sir William, Mrs Susan Bowker, Mrs Barbara Clarkson and Mrs Dorothy Chapple. Apart from Lane's unpublished autobiographical chapters (Ref A/1 & 2), they consist mainly of memorabilia and published material. It is thought that no other papers of Lane are extant.
Accession Number 373
Accession Number 392
Accession Number 1888

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

1 bundle received in March 2012 (acc. 1888) from Lane's grand-daughter, consisting of professional certificates and similar papers, 1881-1882.

Access Status Open
Access Conditions

The majority of these papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material.

This collection also contains a snall amount of uncatalogued material which is currently unavailable to researchers. We regret that we are unable to provide access to this material. For more information, please contact the Archives and Manuscripts department.

Reproduction Conditions Photography is permitted for non-commercial research and private study. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.
Copies A microfilm of items A/1-2 is available in the Wellcome Library.




Subject Health Education
Subject Public Health
Subject Surgery


Subject Health Promotion
MaterialType Archives - Non-digital
System No. 4d7d381b-64e3-4e6b-9f8a-a1426c607afd