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Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 WA/TRL
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories
Date(s): 1899-1943
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 7 boxes
Name of creator(s): Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1900 Henry Solomon Wellcome visited the Sudan and as a result proposed to establish a tropical research laboratory at Khartoum, which would aim at the reduction of disease by using known preventive methods and treatments and also conduct serious scientific research into diseases of the area. Wellcome would equip the laboratory but the Sudan Government was to maintain it and meet staffing costs. In 1903 he founded the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories (WTRL) at Gordon Memorial College, Khartoum which was set up by Andrew Balfour who was also appointed Chief Health Officer.

Wellcome was appointed a member of the General Council of Gordon College, c 1905.

Charles Wenyon was seconded to WTRL from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for a year to join the floating laboratory the 'Culex' to carry research to river settlements, 1907.

The Laboratories were destroyed by fire, 1908, Wellcome financed their rebuilding.

Balfour returned to London to head the Wellcome Bureau of Scientific Research (WBSR), 1913.

Succeeded by A J Chalmers, 1913-1929 and R G Archibald, 1920-1935, and closed by the Sudan Government in 1935.

After Wellcome's death in 1936, the Wellcome Trustees decided not to support the Khartoum laboratories as the Wellcome name had been allowed to disappear (Hall and Bembridge, 1986).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratories, 1899-1943, including the Laboratories' annual reports and reports of the Entomological and Chemical Sections.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is divided into sections as follows: WA/TRL/Leg Legal documents 1899-1905; WA/TRL/Rep Reports 1904-1911; WA/TRL/Pub Publications 1921-1943; WA/TRL/Pub/A Entomological Section 1921-1933; WA/TRL/Pub/B Chemical Section 1931-1943.

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.

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:

Archival Information

Archival history:

These records are extant as they were held in London, whereas papers generated and held in Khartoum relating to the internal administration and the progress of the work of the Laboratories were not transferred back to London, and do not appear to have survived.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Wellcome Tropical Research Laboratory (WTRL)

Allied Materials

Related material:

A few letters between Balfour and Wellcome relating to management and work of WTRL may be found in WA/HSW/CO/Ind/A.1.

Balfour's papers in the Wellcome Bureau of Scientific Research archive [WA/BSR/BA] include material relating to the WTRL.

For files relating to the publication of the annual reports see WA/BSR/BA/Trl.

For papers relating to the Floating School Committee see WA/BSR/Isa/1.

Photographs used in the annual reports, and of the floating laboratory are at WA/PHO/Trl

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June 2008

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