Celebrating World Radiography Day

OliverLodge-1wProfessor Sir Oliver Lodge, Lyon Jones Professor of Physics, served the University for 19 years, making breakthroughs in wireless telegraphy years ahead of Marconi’s patents, and in 1896, demonstrated the first use of x-rays for surgery


Cath Gordon is a Clinical Tutor in the University of Liverpool’s School of Health Sciences

“Today is World Radiography Day which marks the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895Radiography makes a vital contribution to modern healthcare and the University of Liverpool was at forefront of its development at the end of the nineteenth century.

“Wilhem Rí¶entgon discovered x-rays on 8th November 1895 in Wurtzburg, Germany but Oliver Lodge, Professor of Physics at the University took the first diagnostic radiograph three months after this date on request of Robert Jones, an orthopaedic surgeon. Realising the potential, Robert Jones enlisted Dr Charles Thurston Holland, a GP and good friend, to operate the x-ray equipment that he had purchased.

“Hence, the first x-ray department in the country and possibly in the world was established in the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool.  The initial inauguration of clinical radiology in Liverpool occurred on 25th June in 1895 with the first patient x-ray of a patient being taken.

“Dr Holland transferred to the Royal Liverpool Hospital some eight years later to work alongside a technician, Mr Charles Woods. Unfortunately, Mr Woods succumbed to the effects of working in this field at the time losing both his hands and forearms as a consequence of radiation burns before eventually dying from radiation induced carcinoma of the nose and face.

The beginning of training

“Training in radiography first began when the Society of Radiographers was founded in 1920 and membership included medical, electrical and radiographic professionals.  The Liverpool and District Radiographic Society would organise lectures for people in local hospitals after work in the evenings to prepare for these exams.

Radiotherapy therapy

From the 1960s onwards radiography developed as the knowledge and technology advanced and became more complex and radiotherapy became part of radiography training.  From 1992, Liverpool offered separate courses and students could choose to study radiotherapy or diagnostic radiography training.

Liverpool continues to offer radiotherapy training at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels . Radiotherapy uses ionising radiation to target and kill cancerous cells which can alleviate symptoms or even halt and eradicate the disease.  As the population and life expectancy increases, the demand for suitably trained therapeutic radiographers is growing greater and Liverpool provides plenty of opportunities for students to specialise in the using different technologies, as well as in treating different cancers or patient groups with partners in .

To celebrate World Radiography Day we are opening our doors to staff and students who want to come and learn about radiotherapy and find out what a therapeutic radiographer does.

Our facilities will be open to visitors between 11:30am and 2:30pm today.  Staff and students will be available in the VERT room and the 3D virtual radiotherapy room, both in the Waterhouse Building (Block B), and the CT scanner in the basement of the Johnston Building.

We will launch our initiative, ‘How was it for you?’, which encourages service users, young and old, to tell us how it feels to have radiotherapy treatment by drawing, painting or writing poetry.

To complete World Radiography Day celebrations, the Active Learning Lab will be lit up with a special animation. ”


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