Papers of John Peter Smith

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of J Peter Smith (1922-1964), consultant pathologist at the Christie Hospital, and pioneer of cervical cancer screening. Comprises Smith's professional papers between 1961-1964 relating to the establishment of cervical screening programmes.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Peter Smith was born on 11 July 1922 and was educated at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School and then the University of Manchester. Smith served in the RAMC as pathologist and was then appointed registrar in the department of pathology to the Westminster Hospital, London. Smith came to Manchester as lecturer in pathology in 1954, and was later promoted to senior lecturer. In 1960 he was appointed consultant pathologist at Christie Hospital.

Christie Hospital is the largest cancer treatment centre of its kind in Europe, treating patients from all over the north west of England. The hospital (along with the Holt Radium Institute) has a long history of treating cancers, from the industrial cancers of the industrial nineteenth century through to pioneering work in radiotherapy, pharmacological treatments for breast cancer, cultured bone marrow for leukaemia treatment, and the invention of photo-dynamic therapy for skin cancers.

With this legacy of cancer treatment and John Peter Smith’s connections to Manchester the Christie Hospital seemed the perfect location to establish the Cervical Cytodiagnostic Unit, and Smith quickly became known for his pioneering work in the drive to reduce cervical cancer rates through mass screening. The screen project was started in 1963 and the Cytodiagnostic Unit was set up 1964. On 22 August 1964 Smith was killed in a car crash in Italy.


Smith's papers are divided into material directly related to the Cytodiagnostics Unit and material related only to cytodiagnostics.

  • JPS/1-Papers relating to the Cytodiagnostic Unit
  • JPS/2-Research and offprints about cytodiagnostics
  • JPS/3-Photographs
  • JPS/4-Cuttings about cytodiagnostics and the Cytodiagnostics unit
  • JPS/5-General Correspondence
  • JPS/6-Ephemera

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Library by Jennifer Messenger, Dr Smith's daughter, in August 2017.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Related Material

See Manchester Medical Collection, MMC/2/SmithJP for biographical information, and MMC/1/SmithJP for published material.

More information about the Christie Hospital can be found in the Christie Hospital Collection (ref. CHC).

Geographical Names