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Colebrook, Leonard (1883-1967)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 PP/COL
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Colebrook, Leonard (1883-1967)
Date(s): 1907-1967
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 6 boxes
Name of creator(s): Colebrook | Leonard | 1883-1967 | bacteriologist
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Leonard Colebrook's work was chiefly concerned with the control of the spread of infection in hospitals and the treatment of infected wounds. During the First World War he worked in Boulogne with Sir Almroth Wright, and advocated using the patient's inborn resistance to fight infection in wounds, using hypertonics rather than antiseptics which he argued were too harmful to the patient's tissues. In 1930 he was appointed to Queen Charlotte's Hospital where he developed the use of sulphonamides in the treatment of puerperal sepsis. In 1939, as bacteriologist to the Army in France, Colebrook introduced the dusting of wounds with sulphonamide powder, which greatly reduced the incidence of sepsis. In 1940 he joined an MRC team working on septicity of burns and scalds, and in 1943 went on to organise the burns unit at the Birmingham Accident Hospital, creating special dressing rooms with filtered air and near sterile conditions. After his marriage in 1946 he and his wife, Vera, embarked on a campaign leading to the passage of the Fireguards Act in 1952, and continued to campaign for non-flammable night clothing. In 1954 Colebrook's biography of Almroth Wright was published.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Leonard Colebrook including diaries, research notebooks, writings and photographs, 1900-1967.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

A Diaries; B Research notebooks; C Correspondence and writings; D Publications on the control and treatment of infection; E Photographs

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking. In addition, readers should note that Section B research notebooks contain some information about named patients (soldiers) and are subject to Restricted Access conditions for 84 years from the last date in the volume. Readers are required to complete a Restricted Access application form to apply to consult these volumes.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These papers were given to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre in February 1993 by the Royal College of Pathologists.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

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