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Archives and manuscripts

Greater London Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service / Oliver Memorial Fund

London Blood Transfusion Service

About this work


The following is an interim description which may change when detailed cataloguing takes place in future:

Memorabilia, publications and records collected and preserved by Frank Hanley as a result of his involvement in the Greater London Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, the Voluntary Blood Donors Association and the Oliver Memorial Fund. The material includes minutes, account books and other financial records, annual reports, correspondence, newsletters, photographs and ephemera. Although there is some material from the early days of the Service, such as a minute book, 1926-1944, the majority of the collection is much later in date, with a substantial propotion relating to the running of the Oliver Memorial Fund from the 1980s-2000.



Physical description

circa 8 transfer boxes, 1 framed photograph, 2 files

Acquisition note

These papers were donated to the Wellcome Library by Frank Hanley and other representatives of the Oliver Memorial Fund in 2002.

Biographical note

The Service was founded in 1921 by Percy Lane Oliver (1878-1944) as the London Blood Transfusion Service. Oliver was a founder member, and later Honorary Secretary, of the Camberwell Division of the British Red Cross. In 1921 he and his associates began to recruit and organise groups of volunteers, many of them Rover Scouts, to give blood for local hospitals. Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982) was the first Medical Adviser to the Service. In 1926 the Service gained the official backing of the British Red Cross Society and expanded to cover the entire country. It was eventually closed in 1986.

In 1932 the Voluntary Blood Donors Association was formed to represent blood donors and held social events as well as assisting in the running of the Service. This was wound up in 1964.

The Oliver Memorial Fund was formed after Percy Lane Oliver's death in 1944. It made annual awards in recognition of outstanding service to the field of blood transfusion. These awards are now made under the auspices of the Royal College of Pathologists.

Frank Hanley (b.1908) became involved with the Service when, in 1926, as a Rover Scout, he enrolled as a blood donor. Subsequently he began to recruit other donors, raise funds and publicise the Service, eventually, in 1950, joining the management committee and becoming President. He joined the Voluntary Blood Donors Association in 1932 and became its Chairman in 1962. In 1962 he also became Chairman of the Oliver Memorial Fund, of which he became President in 1993. In 1988 Hanley published an account of the work of these related organisations in Francis Hanley, Honour Is Due: A Personal Memoir of the Blood Transfusion Service - Now Known as the Greater London Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service (1921-86).

Related material

The Science Museum Library & Archives holds a collection of ephemera relating to the British Red Cross Society Blood Transfusion Service (MS 2031).

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