A sister dressing a pedicle skin graft used to treat a burnt patient's damaged nose, at the Queen Victoria Hospital

13 May 1942
QUEEN VICTORIA HOSPITAL, HOLTYE ROAD, East Grinstead, Mid Sussex, West Sussex
Photograph (Print)
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The original caption may contain language which is historic and which may no longer be considered appropriate. It has been retained in the record in the interest of historical accuracy.

The caption on the reverse of the photograph reads: “Treatment and after care of burnt patients. Picture shows a sister dressing a pedicle graft for re-making a damaged nose. The graft is from the shoulder.”

The Queen Victoria Hospital became part of the Emergency Medical Service at the beginning of the Second World War, and wooden army huts and three new wards were built. The wards accommodated women and children, officers, patients with dental and jaw injuries, and the most severely burned and injured service personnel. In September 1939, Archibald McIndoe arrived at the Queen Victoria Hospital to run the new Centre for Plastic and Jaw Surgery, bringing with him key members of his operating theatre staff. McIndoe was the Consultant Plastic Surgeon to the RAF, and during his time at the Queen Victoria Hospital treated thousands of patients who had suffered burns. The medical techniques he used were pioneering, and went on to form the basis of burns treatment worldwide. In particular, McIndoe was involved in the development of the walking-stalk skin graft or waltzing tube pedicle: a flap of skin fashioned into a tube, attached at both ends to the patient’s body, was removed and reattached (or ‘walked’) until it reached the area needed the graft – often the patient’s nose. In addition to developing treatments, McIndoe recognised the importance of social rehabilitation of patients: he encouraged convalescing service personnel to wear military uniforms, allowed drinking and smoking on wards, and formed a social group for patients called ‘The Guinea Pig Club’. In 1947 McIndoe received a knighthood. The Queen Victoria Hospital remains renowned in England for its expertise and treatment of burns. See also MED01/01/2878-2897. High-resolution copies of this image are available for free for non-commercial use. Please Enquire to place an order.


This is part of the Series: MED01/01 Series of prints; within the Collection: MED01 The Medical Collection


Source: Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Topical Press Agency Limited

Photographer: Harrison, Norman Kingsley


Hospital, Health And Welfare, People At Work, Second World War, Women