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Reference SA/HHC
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Level Collection
Extent 19 boxes, 25 oversize items
Title Harrison-Howell Blood Transfusion Collection
Date 1930s-2000s
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.

This material consists of historical memorabilia relating to the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS): leaflets, photographs, posters, press cuttings, some stray items relating to the activities and administration of transfusion centres. It came from the various blood transfusion centres across England and Wales at the time of the 50th anniversary of the service (1996), and there was no actual archival arrangement. The material has been organised under the centre with which it originated (although in some instances a little rearrangement has taken place). In most cases only a little material survives from specific centres, but there is a significant amount of material relating to the Manchester Centre, and the overwhelming bulk of the collection came from Brentwood (North East Thames Centre). The Brentwood section, therefore, includes much material relating to the NBTS more generally. A few items gathered by Dr Jean Harrison at Brentwood have been relocated under the specific centre to which they related.

An inventory was received with the collection when it arrived at the Wellcome Library in 2005; however, a significant amount of reorganisation was necessary, and not all the material received had been listed in the inventory. Wherever possible, old inventory references have been incorporated into the file descriptions. It should however be noted that during sorting it was discovered that some duplicate items had been assigned separate inventory references: in such cases only one copy has been retained.

A number of framed portrait photographs and plaques of pioneering and notable names in the history of haematology and blood transfusion have been transferred to the Art Collections in the Wellcome Library (ref. 2027500i). A number of duplicates of informational and promotional leaflets have been handed over to the Ephemera Collection .Some publications and items of grey literature have been transferred to the Contemporary Printed Research Collections.


A. National Blood Transfusion Service

B. Army Blood Supply Depot

C. Birmingham

D. Brentwood
D.1 Material relating to organisation and administration of the Centre
D.2 Promotional materials
D.3 Memorabilia
D.4 Material from other countries
D.5 Display materials on the history of blood transfusion

E. Bristol

F. Cambridge

G. Cardiff

H. Harrogate Hospital

J. Lancaster

K. Leeds

L. Liverpool

M. Manchester

N. Newcastle

P. Northern Ireland

Q. North London

R. Oxford

S. Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service

T. Sheffield

V. Tooting/South London

W. Wessex

X. Memorabilia of Individual Donors

Y. Reprints

Z. Audiovisual materials

Historical Background This collection is not the archive of the British Blood Transfusion Society: it contains very diverse materials relating to the National Blood Transfusion Service and allied issues. The historical background is as follows:

C17th-C19th various experiments take place on the transfusion of blood, but lacking the understanding of the existence of human blood groups (as well as effective sterility and anticoagulation), these were occasionally successful but it remained a very hit and miss operation

1900 Karl Landsteiner of Vienna identifies the ABO blood group system.s

1914-1918 it is discovered that blood can be prevented from clotting by the use of sodium citrate, and that it be stored for a short period under refrigeration

1921 The London Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service set up by Percy Lane Oliver

British Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service set up, and inspired the slow growth of provincial services

Between the wars most transfusion continued to take place from donor to patient as required, but by the late 1930s blood banks were being established in the USA and the UK. In the UK the basis of provision was always free donation by volunteers

During the Spanish Civil War, Frederico Duran-Jordan organised a blood bank that stored blood only from Group O donors, which could be used for patients of any blood type. Coming to London as a refugee in 1939, he helped establish the first blood banks in preparation for the expected war with Germany along with Dr Janet Vaughan and her colleagues, who had already been drawing up plans for a wartime emergency service

1929 Medical Research Council Blood Transfusion Research Committee (disbanded 1982)

On the outbreak of World War II, the London Red Cross Service continued to function in London and the Home Counties with 4 local depots; the Army Blood Depot was based at Southmeads Hospital Bristol. In 1940 regional depots were set up as part of the Emergency Medical Service, and administered by the Medical Research Council, in Newcastle, Leeds, Nottingham (this centre moved to Sheffield in 1945), Cambridge, Birmingham, Oxford, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff, and slightly later in Belfast. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Association., f. 1940, remained a separate and independently funded service.

1946 Ministry of Health takes over the provision of a National Blood Transfusion Service. This was centrally organised with Regional Blood Transfusion Officers, later known as Directors of Regional Blood Transfusion Services

Further Centres were established at Brentwood (NE London Region), 1955, Lancaster, 1965, and Wessex (Southampton), 1971

In 1948 on the establishment of the National Health Service the management of Regional Transfusion Centres was taken over by the relevant Regional Hospital Boards, and this remained the situation after NHS reorganisation, 1974

In 1970 the Directors of Regional Services established a central committee

1983 foundation of the British Blood Transfusion Society, to advance the study of all aspects of blood transfusion for the public benefit, and to promote research and development.

1984 charges introduced for the private sector

1988 National Directorate for Blood Services set up

In 1994 a National Blood Service - governed by a special health authority - took over the responsibilities of the National Directorate , and those of the Central Blood Laboratories Authority, which had previously been responsible for the Bio Products Laboratory (BPL) and the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL).

2005 National Health Blood and Transplant set up as a Special Health Authority; it consists of the National Blood Service, Bio Products Laboratory, and Organ Donation and Transplantation

Further information on the individual Centres will be found in the relevant section descriptions.

Custodial History This material had been gathered together by the British Blood Transfusion Society historian, Peter Howell, and includes substantial amounts of material collected by Dr Jean Harrison
Acquisition Details The collection was received by the Wellcome Library from the BBTS Manchester HQ as a deposit in July 2005. Additional material received from Phil Learoyd, BBTS Historian, Nov 2014
Accession Number 1357
Accession Number 2132
Access Status Certain restrictions apply
Access Conditions The material in this collection is available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts. SA/HHC/M/6 is closed for reasons of Data Protection
Reproduction Conditions Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. 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 The following items have been photographed by Wellcome Images and the original framed photographs were returned to the BBTS:
SA/HHC/HAM2 (temp ref), Elenor Lloyd (large framed photo): "a leader in the practice and teaching of blood transfusion," L0044197
SA/HHC/B104 (temp ref), Dr Sheila Worlledge (b&w framed photo), L0044199
SA/HHC/HAM1 (temp ref), Dr Sheils Worlledge (larger b&w framed photo) "a unique figure in the science and practice of immunohaematology," L0044198
Related Material

Portraits of famous figures in blood transfusion have been transferred to the Art Collection; duplicate promotional and informational leaflets and flyers have been added to the Ephemera collection; publications and grey literature have been transferred to the Contemporary Printed Research Collections

Other related archive and manuscript material is described in the Sources Guide Blood: collections of particular relevance to this one are GC/261 Blood Transfusion Donor Records from the London Red Cross Tranfusion Service and British Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service; SA/BGU Medical Research Council Blood Group Unit; PP/SAR papers of Robert Race and Ruth Sanger; GC/186/1-2 Dame Janet Vaughan files relating to the setting up of the Emergency Blood Transfusion Service in World War II; PP/AEM papers of Arthur Ernest Mourant; GC/107 files relating to collaboration of Lister Institute, the Medical Research Council and the Ministry of Health over arrangement of and publicity for the Blood Transfusion Service, 1943-54

Subject Blood Transfusion
Subject Blood
Subject Rh-Hr Blood Group System
Subject Blood Group Antigens
Subject Hematology
Subject HIV
Subject World War II
Subject Bone Marrow
Subject Red Cross
Subject Allergy and Immunology
MaterialType Archives - Non-digital
System No. eddba109-0246-4b24-b7ba-74941e55f52e