Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Lewis, Sir Thomas

  • Lewis, Sir Thomas (1881-1945)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The papers contain little concerning Lewis' work before 1914, and no clinical research notes, except for a few odd items in section F, which is largely composed of abstracts and notes on journal articles. However, there is extensive correspondence with colleagues internationally about cardiac research 1910-1944 (sections A, B), and material relating to his wartime work at the military heart hospitals at Colchester and Hampstead and with the Ministry of Pensions (section C).

The papers contain much to do with the establishment of Lewis's department as the first MRC clinical research department, in 1919, and his subsequent support for the establishment of other such departments and for the expansion of clinical research in general, through the Medical Research Club, which he founded in 1930.

Reviews of, and correspondence concerning, Lewis's publications, including Heart and Clinical Science Incorporating Heart, can be found in section E.

An index compiled from the two indexes to the previous lists has been incorporated into the catalogue, but this is not comprehensive. Section F has not been indexed.

Reprints of many of Lewis's publications can be found in the publication collections of the Wellcome Library.



Physical description

13 boxes, 1 o/s


In 1994 it was decided to amalgamate all the separate accessions and to catalogue them as one unit, because there was no logical reason why some material had remained at Lewis's home and the rest at the Medical Research Council - for example, correspondence series were split between accessions, as were papers to do with medical research and Lewis's wartime work. Old reference numbers have been included in the Previous Numbers field where appropriate. This information can also be found in appendix A of the hard copy catalogue available in the Rare Materials Room of the Wellcome Library.

Arrangement is as follows:







Acquisition note

These papers came to the CMAC in four accessions, which were initially listed separately. They were recatalogued as one entity in 1995.

Accession 56 was acquired by the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine on long loan from the Medical Research Council in April 1977. In 1977 a brief list of these papers had been made by Sir Edward Pochin, and they were subsequently rearranged and catalogued by the CMAC after its establishment in 1979.

Accession 109 was presented by Sir Edward Pochin in February 1982, and consisted of one file of Lewis's correspondence with Sir George Pickering.

Accession 88 was presented by Lewis's widow, Lady Lewis, in February 1981, who also gave some books from Lewis's library to the WIHM Library. The papers comprised 11 box files, apparently untouched since Lewis's death, and underwent little rearrangement when catalogued by the CMAC.

Accession 319 was presented by Mr RS Lewis, the executor of Lady Lewis, in July 1989, and consisted of a small quantity of miscellaneous items, including notes, correspondence and press cuttings, which had presumably become separated from the rest of the material held by Lady Lewis.

In 1995 Dr A Hollman gave a few letters and an article about birds, which he had received from the Lewis family. He also lent further items to be photocopied. These have been amalgamated with the rest of the collection.

Acc.1540: received in Sep 2007 and catalogued as B.12 (pocket diaries of Lewis)

Acc.1725 received in Mar 2010 (Collected bound reprints on 'ductless glands', 1896-1901, indexed by Lewis and including an early paper by him on 'the structure and functions of the haemolymph glands and spleen', with plates; 'Some recollections of my father, Sir Thomas Lewis, and of my family life' by Thomas Henry Christopher Lewis, c.1996; manuscript draft by Lewis of paper on the nocifensor system of nerves, c. 1937, catalogued respectively as F.23, B.13 and F.24)

Biographical note

Sir Thomas Lewis was an eminent cardiologist, and a founder of what is now recognised as clinical research.

1881 Born at Cardiff, December 26

1898 Entered University College Cardiff

1901 BSc pass degree double honours

1902 First paper 'The proteins of unstriped muscle', with teacher Vincent Swale, Journal of Physiology

1902 MB BS London (Gold Medal)

Entered University College Hospital Medical School

1904 Elected member of Physiological Society

1905 DSc Wales

1905-1906 House Surgeon to Thomas Barlow

1906 Period in Berlin. First cardiac paper in Journal of Physiology

1907 Fellow of UCL



1907-1908 Work in EH Starling's Laboratory, UCL

1907-1912 Medical Registrar, Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich

1907-1913 Out-Patient Physician, City of London Hospital

1909-1916 Private practice, Wimpole Street

1909 Founded journal Heart

1910 Appointed first Beit Memorial Fellow

1911 Lecturer in Cardiac Pathology UCHMS

First book The Mechanism of the Heart Beat

1912 Clinical Disorders of the Heart Beat

Assistant Physician, UCH

1913 Clinical Electrocardiology

Elected FRCP

1914 Visited USA

1916 Married Lorna Treharne James of Merthyr Tydfil

Appointed Physician Medical Research Committee

1916-19 Directed clinical services of Military Heart Hospitals at Hampstead and Colchester, work on 'effort syndrome'

1917 Croonian Lecturer, Royal Society

1918 FRS

Consulting Physician to Eastern Command

1919 Consulting Physician to Ministry of Pensions

Appointed full Physician at UCH

1920 CBE

1921 Knighthood

1927 Blood Vessels of the Human Skin

Gold Medal, Royal Society

1930 Re-named department 'The Department of Clinical Research'

Founded Medical Research Society

1932 Endowment of post by Rockefeller Trust

1933-37 Member of MRC Council

1933 Diseases of the Heart

1934 Clinical Science Illustrated by Personal Experiences

1936 Vascular Disorders of the Limbs

1938 Research in Medicine, and Other Addresses

1941 Copley Medal, Royal Society

1942 Pain

1939-1944 First Aid Commandant, Rickmansworth

MRC Committee for Care of Shipwrecked Personnel

MRC Committee for Vascular Injuries

1943 Vice-President of Royal Society (Council 1925-6, 1930-32)

Honorary Fellowship, Royal Society of Medicine

1944 Conway-Evans Prize, Royal College of Physcians

1945 Died on March 17

See article in the Journal of Medical Biography vol.2 (1994), pp.63-70.

The Dictionary of National Biography article on Sir Thomas Lewis, can be found here

Related material

Much material is held elsewhere: Reprints of articles mainly on cardiology, collected by Lewis, and oral history tapes held in the Library; correspondence with Sir Edward Pochin in PP/EEP; some Lewis material in PP/EJW and PP/GWP; 2 boxes of Lewis material held by UCL archives including photographs; papers and notes of Lewis's assistant held by Science Museum; ts 'recollections of my father' donated by Lewis's son Dr Christopher Lewis to the Library of the Royal College of Physicians. Further material relating to Lewis is held by the British Cardiovascular Society.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

Appraisal note

Two boxes of reprints, mostly on cardiology c.1925-1940, collected by Lewis and received with accession 56, have been transferred to the publication collections of the Wellcome Library.

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

Research and clinical notes, correspondence and papers (originally held in 80 box-files9): this material cannot be produced for research until it has been assessed thoroughly for any closure or restriction that may be necessary under the Data Protection Act. 9 transfer boxes and 1 archive box.

Permanent link