• Title
    Gillies, Sir Harold Delf (1882-1960)- Patient Files
  • Reference
  • Level of description
  • Date
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    This collection contains records relating to patients who underwent plastic surgery at the centre set up by Harold Gillies at Queen's Hospital, Sidcup during the First World War . Queen's Hospital patients of this era were almost exclusively servicemen. Most were soldiers, with a small number of Navy and Flying Corps personnel, most of whom had suffered burns. The records include rank, number, regiment and date of wounding so that the action in which they were wounded can often be identified. Many of these records are less than 100 years old and contain patient identifiable data. Access to them is restricted until 2025 and researchers wishing to consult them must fill out a Patient Records Application Form to request permission to do so.
  • Extent
    52 Boxes
  • Language
  • System of arrangement
    As described in the Scope and Content
  • Conditions governing access
    Potential users must complete an Application form to view Patient Files before being considered for access. Please email or see the website of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for the Archivist's contact details.These records are less than 100 years old and contain patient identifiable data. Access to them is restricted until 2025 and researchers wishing to consult them must fill out a Patient Records Application Form to request permission to do so.
  • Conditions governing reproduction
    No photocopying permitted
  • Admin./ biographical history
    Sir Harold Gillies was born at Dunedin, New Zealand, on 17 June 1882. His father Robert Gillies was a land agent and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, and his mother was Emily Street from Birtley, near Guilford. Edward Lear, the artist and nonsense-verse writer, was his great-uncle and Sir Archibald McIndoe, who succeeded him as a leader in plastic surgery, was his cousin. Educated at Wanganui College, where he was captain of cricket, he went on to Caius College, Cambridge. There he distinguished himself as a sportsman, rowing in the Boat Race of 1904 and playing golf for the University for three years. He continued his medical training at St. Bartholomew's, was awarded the Luther Holden Scholarship, qualified in 1908 and obtained the FRCS in 1901. After holding house appointments at Bart’s he developed an interest in otolaryngology. For some years he worked as assistant to Sir Malcolm Rees and became surgeon to the Ear Nose and Throat Department at the Prince of Wales’ General Hospital, Tottenham and Pathologist at the Throat Hospital, Golden Square. Then came the 1914-1918 war which caused the mutilation and disfigurement of so many men and showed Gillies clearly where his genius lay. Early in the war he joined the RAMC and whilst on leave in Paris he met Hippolyte Morestin, a pioneer in maxillo-facial surgery. Gillies immediately realised the need to start special treatment of facial wounds and through the force of his conviction and personality he managed to persuade the War Office to allow him to set up a unit at Aldershot. At this time he knew little of the specialty, but his own surgical skill, artistic temperament, endless patience and tremendous confidence carried him through. He pressed for a hospital of his own and with the help of Sir William Arbuthnot Lane the Red Cross was persuaded to build a hutted hospital at Sidcup. This soon became the largest centre of its kind in the world. During this time Gillies discovered independently the potential and varied applications of the skin tubed pedicle. Being a painter himself, plastic surgery as practiced by Gilles became an art and he often called on the talents of artists to help him. F. Derwent Wood RA, a sculptor, collaborated with Gillies in cases when the manipulation of living tissues needed to be supplemented with modelling in some artificial substance such as wax. When Gillies was in need of a good draughtsman in 1915 he was delighted to meet Henry Tonks FRCS, who had given up surgery to become a professional artist and was later director of the Slade School. On the outbreak of war Tonks volunteered to serve in any useful capacity and Gillies found him at Aldershot waiting for a suitable job. He painted portraits of men with facial injuries and helped to design their repair. After the war Gillies saw that his new speciality was still necessary in peace-time and by 1920 he had established it in Britain. He set up in private practice, was elected to the staff at St Bartholomew’s, and was appointed consultant in plastic surgery to the royal Navy, The Royal Air Force, the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital and, St Andrew’s Hospital, Dollis Hill, St James’s Hospital Balham, the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, the London County Council Hospital, and the Ministries of Health and of Pensions. At the same time his international reputation grew and he became an honoured guest in many countries. He was appointed OBE in 1919 and CBE in 1920 and was knighted in 1930. He gave lecturers both at home and abroad and taught younger surgeons his techniques. His pre-operative planning clinics, in which he demonstrated the use of exact patterns of flap and pedicle and the marking on the skin of the exact site and length of incision, were particularly influential. The outbreak of war in 1939 made even greater demands on Gillies. He organised plastic surgical units in different parts of the country and personally supervised the largest unit at Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. By spending hundreds of hours in the theatre repairing shattered faces he restored the morale of thousands. Shortly after the war Gillies formed the British Association of Plastic Surgeons of which he was first president. He was also honorary president of the International Society of Plastic Surgeons. He continued to train men from all over the world and to travel widely himself, teaching, operating and advising. His impressions were recorded in his paintings which were seen at the Royal Society of Medicine and later at two one-man public exhibitions in London. In 1920 Gillies’ book ‘Plastic Surgery of the Face’ was published, which remained the leading textbook in its field until the appearance in 1957 of ‘The Principles and Art of Plastic Surgery’, written with Dr Ralph Millard. In spite of the claims of his professional life Gillies for many years managed to maintain his position in the world of golf. He played for England against Scotland in 1908, 1925 and 1926 and won the St George’s Grand Challenge Cup in 1913. He was also a highly skilled fly-fisherman. Gillies married Kathleen Margaret Jackson in 1911 and they had two sons and two daughters. During the Second World War their elder son, Flying Officer John Arthur Gillies, RAAF was a prisoner in Germany. Lady Gillies died on 14 May 1957. His second wife was Marjorie E Clayton, who had been for many years his Personal Assistant. He died on 10 September 1960 at the age of 78. The British Association of Plastic Surgeons created a fund in his memory to promote education and research in plastic surgery. [Source: Plarr's Lives of the Fellows, volume 4, page 151] The Queen's Hospital, Sidcup was developed as the First World War's major centre for pioneering maxillo-facial and plastic surgery. It was opened in 1917, in response to the casualties of the battle of the Somme and to Harold Gillies' insistence that he needed a hospital of his own to replace the unit at Aldershot. The hutted hospital, and its associated convalescent hospitals, provided over 1000 beds and between 1917 and 1921 admitted in excess of 5000 servicemen. The Hospital's medical staff were organised on national lines, with contingents from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 1929 the Queen's Hospital in Sidcup closed and the remaining in-patients were transferred to Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, with which the Sidcup establishment had always maintained close links. It was re-opened and re-named in the 1930s as Queen Mary's Hospital: a general hospital and accommodation for male convalescent patients. [Source: Dr Andrew Bamji's website - accessed June 2013]
  • Notes
    Public Records
  • Associated names
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