News and events

Here are a few ways of exploring new and interesting items from the archives:

New display in Queen Square Library

Neuroradiology at Queen Square

This display held in Queen Square Library marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Lysholm Ward in 1949, featuring photographs, objects, and documents from Queen Square Archives including the early years of Neuroradiology in Queen Square, before the establishment of the Department.

40th anniversary of the first diagnostic scan at the NMR Research Unit

Image caption

25th April marks the 40th anniversary of the first diagnostic scan being performed at the NMR Research Unit based at Queen Square. Two Queen Square professors, Ian McDonald and George du Boulay, recognised a new imaging technique, NMR scanning, had the potential for being a ‘game-changer’ for the diagnosis and treatment of persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) and persuaded the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide a grant of £1 million, an enormous award for the time, to fund a ‘Multiple Sclerosis NMR Unit’ at Queen Square, the first imaging unit in the world dedicated to research into MS.

The unit was opened in 1984 by Prince Charles and had a Picker superconducting NMR imaging system (now universally known as MRI), initially at 0.25 Tesla. Further grants from the MS Society, provided a succession of five-year programme grants to sustain the research. Under McDonald’s leadership, the focus of the research was diagnosis, with the development of the ‘McDonald criteria’ used globally to aid the diagnosis of MS, understanding the pathogenesis of MS and on MR physics, with his successors moving towards developing outcomes for clinical trials.

With the passing decades, the NMR Research Unit has remained at the forefront of MS research and with the training of numerous neurologists and scientists as part of their post-graduate studies.

Professor Andrew Lees delivers MacDonald Critchley lecture

We’re delighted to announce that Professor Andrew Lees delivered the MacDonald Critchley lecture ‘Silent Language’ looking at the life & work of MacDonald Critchley in front of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries on October 3rd 2023.

Dr J. S. Risien Russell, one of Britain’s first black consultants, commemorated with portrait

A new portrait of Dr James Samuel Risien Russell, one of Britain’s first Black British consultants, was unveiled at the NHNN on 18th October, celebrating the pioneering researcher, teacher and neurology consultant at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Previous displays

Film footage

We’re delighted to launch a series of archive film footage.

Additional archive film footage will be added to a compilation on this website.

Queen Square: A History of the National Hospital and its Institute of Neurology

Available to purchase online with all proceeds of sales going to the National Brain Appeal. August 2022 update: the book now sells for £35 (plus postage or free collection)

Brainspotting: Adventures in Neurology book published

Professor Andrew Lees’ new book Brainspotting: Adventures in Neurology, the sequel to his memoir Mentored by a Madman: The William Burroughs Experiment is published by Notting Hill Editions. An autographed copy can be purchased directly from the publisher. All royalties will go to Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

Self-guided Queen Square history walk

A short walk around the Square focusing on artwork, objects and buildings around the Square. Additional images and information are available in our Compilation and exhibition handout

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