Historicaleigh - In The Interests of Science

September 12, 2017 by Carole Mulroney

Nowadays we take X Rays for granted and we are used to the radiographer staying out of range of the machinery in action. But at the outset the dangers were not known. On 29 November 1925, at his home in Marine Avenue, Leigh, Reginald George Griffiths Blackall passed away at the young age of 44.

Radiography was still a young practice and it was common for those working with X-rays to test the imaging by taking X-rays of their own hands and after prolonged exposure suffered horrendous injuries. Eventually the dangers were realized but for Reginald and others it was too late. They were known as the X Ray Martyrs.

In 1924 the Carnegie Hero Fund trustees awarded Reginald an Honorary Certificate and an annual award of £75. By this time he had carcinoma and had had to have both hands amputated. The London Hospital also gave him a grant of £285 a year  and provided insurance for his family. 

A memorial to all X Ray Martyrs was unveiled on 4 April 1936 at St George’s Hospital, Hamburg.  There are 150 names on the memorial from all over the world, including Reginald Blackall of Leigh.

This article is by Carole Mulroney of Leigh Lives
Website: www.leighlives.co.uk
To read all of Carole's previous articles, please click the link here