Serving by the code

Over the coming months I aim to highlight some of my favourite items in the Medical History of British India project.

I have been working with the material for over 4 years and it was these meticulous and descriptive reports which fuelled my interest in the history of medicine. From bowel gangs to rabid badgers, unruly medical students to pauper lunatics, pioneering scientists to young soldiers, operations to vaccination, there has always been something to catch my eye.

L0023436 Lieutenant Colonel J. Courtenay Haslett with staff in I

(Picture above is dated c.1905 and is from Wellcome Images,

One of my favourite items from the Institutions collection is Code of medical and sanitary regulations for the guidance of medical officers serving in the Madras Presidency, seen online by clicking here This two volume work, published in 1870, gives copious detail about the career and duties of medical officers. There are details of pay and leave, travelling on duty, sanitary regulations, medical stores, hospital supplies, transport of troops and dress regulations.

If your ancestor was a medical officer in Madras around this time then these books give a full picture of their working conditions. To those interested in colonial or military medicine the appendices give examples of forms used by the Government to collect information and aid administration.