Topical Press Agency Medical Collection
We've uncovered a remarkable collection of more than 4,000 medical images, deep within the vaults of the Historic England Archive.
The images document health care from 1938 to 1943, and detail wartime hospital staff, patients, procedures and practices. Many of the images are quirky, surprising and emotive, revealing an extraordinary slice of 1930s and '40s Britain.
The photographs in the collection are very well annotated, providing great insight into medical treatments during the Second World War. They feature hospitals and practices all around the country, from Liverpool to London.
The collection taps into the zeitgeist of the formative years of the National Health Service, capturing health care in the few years preceding its inception.
We showed the collection to four nurses who trained and worked in hospitals in the North West from the 1940s and '50s. Watch Dorothy, Audrey, Margaret and Jean's testament to the spirit of the age:
Teachers can download this video (.ZIP 67 MB) for use in teaching activities.
Topical Press Agency Medical Collection image gallery
Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.
Search the collection for images near you - you can search the collection by keyword or location. For instance "MED/01 Bristol" will bring up all images in the medical collection related to Bristol.
With thanks to the Wellcome Trust for grant funding the conservation, cataloguing and digitisation of the collection.
A collection of 4,050 photographs uncovered in the Historic England Archive is giving up its secrets after more than 70 years.
Also of interest...
We hold over 12 million photographs, drawings, reports and publications from the 1850s to the present day in our Archive.
Teaching activity examining to what extent the Second World War was a factor in the development of medical knowledge.
Teaching Activity looking at how the Second World War change the lives of women on the Home Front.
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See our extensive range of expert advice to help you care for and protect historic places.