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Heath, John Clifford (1916-2004)

  • Heath, John Clifford (1916-2004)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


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

Correspondence files, including reports.

Student lecture notes.

Laboratory notebooks, 1938-1960s.

Volumes containing reference articles, typescript and manuscript copies of articles from scientific journals published in 1920s-1940s.


Health and Safety Executive project reports, 1970s.

Drawings of apparatus.

Photographs of tumours.



Physical description

13 Transfer Boxes

Acquisition note

Deposited at the Wellcome Library, October 2005.

Biographical note

John Clifford Heath was educated at Wellingborough School, before gaining a scholarship to study electrical engineering at Loughborough Engineering College. He achieved a 1st class honours Diploma from Loughborough whilst simultaneously passing the London University BSc (Engineering) as an external student and becoming a graduate of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

In 1937 he worked for a year at the Research and Development Laboratory of the General Electric Company at Witton, before joining the Birmingham branch of the British Empire Cancer Campaign as an electrical engineer. He later became a lecturer in physics at Birmingham University.

Heath became the physicist for Strangeways Research Laboratory in 1948, after being offered the job personally by F. G. Spear. He worked at Strangeways for nearly forty years, his position being jointly funded by the British Empire Cancer Campaign (Headquarters). He later worked for the Health and Safety Executive, before retiring in the mid 1980s.

John Heath is probably best known for his work on the carcinogenicity of implanted metals, particularly cadmium, which came about due to his personal interest in the use of metal prostheses. He also researched the role of trace metals in the development of some forms of cancer, which later progressed to an investigation of the action of particulate metals on lung tissue, both alone and in combination with mineral particles or fibres.

Related material

In the Wellcome Library:

PP/FGS, Frederick Gordon Spear

PP/HBF, Dame Honor Bridget Fell

SA/CRC, Cancer Research Campaign, formerly British Empire Cancer Campaign

SA/SRL, Strangeways Research Laboratory

Terms of use

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