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Public asked to contribute in new exhibition on history of The Christie

12 Jul 2010

For the first time ever a public exhibition on the history of The Christie is to be held and researchers are looking for anyone with experiences of the leading cancer centre to share their stories.

The exhibition - organised by The Christie and The University of Manchester - will be held all day on the 14th October at The Christie’s main site in Withington and will give an insight into its development since it opened in 1901.   

Prior to the event, former or current patients and their families, staff and volunteers are being invited to contribute by taking part in an interview which will be played at the exhibition.  The interview can either be video-recorded or audio-taped at a convenient time and location.

Christie organiser Kevin Dunn said; “The Christie has an outstanding history and there are some fascinating stories to tell.   

“In the early days there were stories about staff fears of contracting cancer, treatments included extracts of cow stomach juice, there were of course difficulties during the wars – for example surgery had to be suspended in 1915 and during the Second World War staff had to ensure radium was kept safe from potential bombing to carry on work.  Then of course there were changes to face when The Christie became part of the newly created NHS in 1948.”

Dr Joanna Baines, a researcher at the University’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, in the Faculty of Life Sciences, said; “The experiences and views of people who have worked at or received treatment in the Christie will be the main focus of this exhibition. 

“We hope to reveal the history of a patient-centered institution while exploring its future developments.”

If you have a story you want to share about The Christie or would like further information about the project please contact either Dr Joanna Baines on 0161 275 0562 / Joanna.baines-2@manchester.ac.uk  or Kevin Dunn at The Christie 0161 446 3097 / Kevin.dunn@christie.nhs.uk

Notes for editors

Media related enquiries should be directed to communications officer at The Christie Maria Jackson on 0161 446 3613 or media relations officer at The University of Manchester Mikaela Sitford on 0161 275 2111.

More information about the exhibition will be issued nearer the time.

Some of The Christie’s major achievements include conducting the world’s first ever clinical trial for the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen which has gone on to save the lives of patients across the globe; it set the first international standards for radiation treatment and it has undertaken the first trials in Europe for pioneering radioimmunotherapy which could replace chemotherapy for some patients.

The Christie opened on the 26th November 1901 - it was named The Christie in recognition of the pioneering work of both Mr Richard and Mrs Helen Christie. At this time there were 30 beds and 463 patients each year.

From 1931 it was linked with the Holt Radium Institute which gave radium treatments for patients in local hospitals. The two institutions then moved to their new building in suburban Withington, and established there a world-reputation for radiotherapy. Under the NHS the hospital continued to thrive, and the research work it promoted came to be reorganised as the Paterson Institute, funded by the Cancer Research Campaign, the Medical Research Council, and many local sources and appeals.