International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    LEPRA (Leprosy Relief Association)


    Category Leprosy Organisation
    Organization LEPRA
    Country United Kingdom
    Address Fairfax House, Causton House, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PU, UK


    LEPRA (The Leprosy Relief Association) - holds extensive records of its work as both BELRA (The British Empire Leprosy Relief Association), and LEPRA.

    Organisational material includes BELRA's Memorandum and Articles of Association incorporated 26 February 1937, and BELRA Combined Register 1937-1953.

    There are Executive Committee minutes from the following dates: 1 March 1937 - 17 November 1950; 9 January 1951 - 5 June 1958; July 1958 - June 1970; 16 July 1970 - 5 December 1974; 4 February 1975 - 13 December 1978; 8 February 1979 - 24 November 1982; 8 February 1983 - 3 December 1986; 3 February 1987 - 21 November 1989.

    Annual General Meeting minutes are in this archive, dating from 10 June 1971 to 26 June 1991, and Medical Advisory Board Minutes from March 1924 to June 1967. BELRA/LEPRA Annual reports dating from 1924 to the present day, and BELRA/LEPRA Magazines from 1938 to the present are also held here.

    BELRA/LEPRA UK Staff Files (Fundraising and Head Office) includes documents on a number of personnel across the country, including the papers of Sir Alan Burns (Chairman of the Executive Committee) (Papers 1956-1964); Air Vice Marshal W J Crisham (General Secretary) (Papers 1962-1967); Lord Halifax (President); Lt. Gen. Sir Bennett Hance (Medical & Executive Committees); Sir Arthur MacNalty (Papers 1957-1963).

    BELRA/LEPRA Overseas Workers files include documents on Frank Davey, Gordon Ellard, Roland Huskinson, Colin McDougall and Michael Smith, among many others. A history of all BELRA's overseas workers is currently being compiled. This collection holds both files and the archives (photographs and papers) of two overseas workers, Tony Drake and Iori Rogers.

    The following Overseas Visit Reports are held:

    Dr Stanley Browne

    • Malawi & Zambia - January 1972
      G F Harris
    • Nigeria, Malawi & Uganda - October/November 1965
    • Gambia & Sierra Leone - November 1966
    • Zambia - May 1968
    • Tanzania & Zambia - May 1970 (With Miss Arabella Churchill)
    • Malawi - January 1971
    • Nigeria & Sierra Leone - February/March 1972
    • Malawi - March 1973
    • Malawi & Ethiopia - June/July 1975
    • India - January/February 1978
      Dr Colin McDougall
    • Guyana - April 1975
      Dr Brian Wheatley
    • Nigeria - July 1971 (Eastern States)
    • Nigeria - July 1972 (East Central State)
      The archive also holds the following publications: Leprosy in India, Vols I - XXVII (1929-1955); Indian Council Reports (1925 - 1929); Leprosy - Summary of Recent Work, Vols 13-72 (1928-1950); Lepra, Vols I - III; Leprosy Review, 1938 - present. Souvenir booklets on the BELRA Exhibition 1948 and 'Who Walk Alone' Exhibition 1948 are here.
      There is a substantial photographic archive from India, Africa and Sungei Buloh, Malaysia, as well as archive slides (pre-1980) from Cameroon, India, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanganyika, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
      There is audio-visual material, including:
    • Publicity and educational videos made by and for LEPRA, including: Yes Leprosy Can be Cured (1965) - a joint ILEP film covering leprosy work in several countries (Thailand, Ethiopia, Colombia, Spain and Malawi; Born to Live (1965) - a story of the Abeokuta settlement, run by LEPRA worker, John Lakin; Outpatients not Outcasts (1968) - a film covering the work and objectives of LEPRA's Special Control Project in Malawi, the first LEPRA film to be in colour. Others are: A Disease Called Leprosy (1984); Asmat (1991); Leprosy (1974); Leprosy Can be Cured (1976); Mariama (1976); The Name of the Cloud is Ignorance (1965); Julian Pettifer Appeal (1986); Something to Smile About (1991).
    • Silent films taken by overseas workers: Ankaful Leprosarium (year unknown but between 1948 and 1952) - Ghana - shows buildings and general view, construction, treatment giving, manual labour, games, hospital and ward; Daily Happenings at Raja Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital, Kuching, Sarawak (year unknown); The Gilberts (1959) - taken by Tony Drake on his posting to the Gilbert Islands, showing village life and surroundings; Malawi (1966) - taken by Tony Drake, includes views of Mbiza Rural Dispensary and opening of the new LEPRA centre in Blantyre; Cross River to Itu (1957) - taken by Tony Drake on his arrival at Itu settlement. Excellent views of the entire settlement from the hilltop, and visit of the High Commissioner and his wife; Kano, Ibadan, Lagos (1958) - taken by Tony Drake and shows rural scenes, as well as the celebrations for the visit of HM The Queen.
    • Audio tapes and records. General recordings include: LEPRA Annual General Meetings from 1996 and 1997; "Developing Health" Programmes by Geoff Watts; and a New Horizon programme - "The New Face of Leprosy" (1986). Recordings of personnel include: Dr Noshir Antia on a World Service Broadcast, 'Science Action' (1980); RAC Huskinson in The Man of the Hands (1986); Awareness of Leprosy (1996); Leprosy Control as I See it Today (1997); Dr Michael Lavender conducting three patient interviews; Dr Colin McDougall in an interview on BBC Radio 4 'Today' Programme (1984); Dr RJW Rees in BBC Discovery Programme (1979). Several other interviews with overseas staff are still being catalogued. There are also a few interviews with LEPRA staff - Joy Maitland on Woman's Hour (1977) and two BBC Essex interviews - Derek Warren & Frank Black (1990); Anne Keatley-Clarke, Terry Vasey & Joy Maitland (1994).
      A publication by Sir Leonard Rogers, dating from 1945 is in this archive: The Foundation of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA) and its first 21 years of work; and another by Dr J Ross Innes, from 1959: An Approach to the History of Leprosy, a reprint from "Ciba Symposium" Vol 7, No 3, August 1959.
    • Extensive files on BELRA/LEPRA work are also held at the Wellcome Institute for the History and Understanding of Medicine, London, UK.

      Entry made 9 January 2003


    Name Mrs Irene Allen
    Organization LEPRA
    Address LEPRA, Fairfax House, Causton Road, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1PU, United Kingdom.
    Telephone +44 (0)1206 562286
    Fax +44 (0)1206 762151

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