Friday, 1 February 2013

LSHTM Annual Reports through the years

As the School’s annual report for 2012 has recently been published and is in a new format this year, we have been looking back over the LSHTM Archive’s complete collection of Annual Reports dating back to the earliest days of the School’s existence.

When looked at collectively the series of Annual Reports provide a wonderful summary of how the School has changed and grown over the years, and the way it has chosen to present itself to the general public.

We hold a copy of the Report for Year 1899-1900 - the School’s first year of operation, when it formed part of the Seamen’s Hospital Society’s Branch Hospital at the Royal Albert Dock.

Cover of 1899 Annual Report and list of appointments held by graduates
At this time the School was known as The London School of Tropical Medicine, and the focus was only on treating and studying tropical diseases, before the connection with public health and hygiene was established in the 1920s. The School’s objectives are recorded as being ‘not only to acquaint the Student with the diseases of the Tropics, and teach him how to treat the various ailments he may meet with, but also to put him in the way of investigating Tropical diseases, to train him to observe, to record, and to study scientifically the great Tropical disease scourges’. 96 students were registered and taught in that first year and the School was ambitious in its aims for the future, with plans to double the size of its library and laboratory (which were achieved in 1912).

    Cover of 1925 Annual Report with Student Photographs for the Course in Tropical Medicine and Parasitology for Services Medical Officers 1941

In 1924 the Reports changed format as the School officially became The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and prepared to move to its current location in Keppel Street.

Throughout the 20s and 30s the Reports show the School growing significantly, with much larger numbers of staff and students listed and many new departments and areas of research becoming established, as well as research trips to many parts of the world.

During World War II the emphasis turns to how the School ‘never closed its doors’ in spite of bomb damage to the building in 1941.

The reports reflect much change through two periods of modernisation and restructuring, the first in the early 1970s when universities were under severe financial pressure and the second in the late 1980s.

       Covers of 1989/90 and 2004/05 Annual Reports

Throughout this time the Reports change from being merely factual and become bright glossy documents with lots of pictures to help promote the School and its work. It will be interesting to see how the Annual Reports continue to change and reflect the School in years to come.

Collections covering the complete administrative history of the School can be viewed via the LSHTM Archive Service. Please see the Archives website for further information. 

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