Penicillin, wartime distribution to civilians in Edinburgh

Scope and Content

Papers on the use of penicillin for civilians 1944; correspondence relating to the supply of penicillin to Edinburgh hospitals 1944-1945; requests for supplies of penicillin 1944-1945; correspondence relating to returns of use of penicillin 1945; correspondence relating to supplies of sub-standard penicillin 1945; correspondence relating to increased supplies of penicillin 1945; penicillin treatment record forms 1944-1945

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1944 a supply of penicillin for use in the treatment of civilians became available in Scotland, to be distributed within the divisions of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. Professor Sydney A. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Edinburgh University, was responsible for the setting up of a Committee to oversee the distribution of penicillin in Edinburgh; this Committee also consisted of Dr. W. G. Clark (Medical Officer of Health), Professor J. R. Learmonth (Department of Surgery), and Professor T. J. Mackie (Department of Bacteriology). These papers relate to the distribution of penicillin to hospitals in Edinburgh, and the use thereof, particularly in Bangour Hospital, City Hospital, Leith Hospital, Princess Margaret Rose Hospital, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, and the Royal Infirmary, which were originally named as Distribution Centres of penicillin to other hospitals.


Chronological within record class

Conditions Governing Access

Public access to these records is governed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the latest version of the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records with sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time.

Where records are about named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Records about individuals below 18 years (living or deceased) or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found on the LHSA webpage (

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Acquisition Information

Accessioned pre-1980, no details available


Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists

Other Finding Aids

Manual summary list available

Custodial History



No further accessions are expected