Papers of George Steedman Riddell

Scope and Content

The papers consist of medical reports and related material (including photographs) for Fife and Kinross in general and for certain specific areas and institutions within Fife and Kinross, between 1890 and 1973. These include annual reports from the medical officers of health in St Andrews, Dunfermline and Leven; annual reports from the St Andrews Institute for Clinical Research, the Glenlomond Sanatorium, Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital and St Andrews Memorial Cottage Hospital. There are also surveys of housing provision and needs in the Fife villages from 1944 to 1973.

In the case of Leven the MOH's papers include related material on housing, the pollution of the river Leven, the town water supply, the slaughterhouse, and, for 1939-45, matters such as billeting and air-raid shelters. There are also papers relating to the career of Dr R Balfour Graham, the source of the papers relating to Leven.

Box 8 contains papers relating to the health of miners in the Lochgelly area, 1954-56. Box 12 contains a large number of photographs, mostly recent prints, some from old originals. These include a number of pictures relating to mines rescue.

The early medical reports contain details of matters such as water supply and sanitation. In later years there is less emphasis on this, which has become the province of the Engineering Department of the County Council, and the local Sanitary Inspectors (some of whose reports are also to be found in this collection). Later still, Social Work became a separate speciality and the remit of the Medical Officer of Health was further narrowed.

The interest of this collection lies not only in the official records it contains, but also in the more informal material, such as handwritten comments on official documents, and correspondence and newspaper cuttings relating to a wide range of issues.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr George Steedman Riddell graduated in 1939, and then served in the Second World War. After 1945 he settled in Aberdeen where he was Assistant Medical Officer for Aberdeenshire County Council before being appointed Medical Officer of Health for Fife County Council in 1959. In 1974 when the council was abolished he became Community Medicine Specialist for Fife Health Board. He lived in Leven, Fife after his retirement.

Access Information

By appointment with the Archivist. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Acquisition Information

First nine boxes were given to the University of St Andrews by Dr Riddell in 1987. An additional deposit of four boxes was made by Stephen Patterson in 1990.


Description compiled by Rachel Hart, Archives Hub Project Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is fully listed on the manuscripts database at GB227.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents. Special conditions apply to photographs.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 227 procedures.

Custodial History

Originally deposited for use of named researcher.