World TB Day – March 24 2018

March 24th is World TB Day. World TB Day was designed to bring public awareness to what is still considered an epidemic in much of the world and was chosen to be on this date to commemorate the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis.

To mark World Tuberculosis Day on the 24th of March, we here at the archives would like to highlight the archive of Sir Arthur Newsholme, a pioneer in public health who took a special interest in TB.

Newsholme was born in Haworth, Yorkshire, who took his medical qualifications in London. Later, he went on to serve as the Medical Officer of Health for the parish of Clapham in 1884. In 1888 he took on the same role but in the parish of Brighton, where he campaigned against the contamination of the local milk supply by the use of cows suffering from tuberculosis, even bringing an infected cow’s udder to a meeting in 1897 to dramatise his case.

A lecture on TB by Newsholme, 1897.

Whilst serving as a Medical Officer of Health, Newsholme conducted research in epidemiology, particularly relating to tuberculosis. He has been credited with demonstrating that the decline in tuberculosis in England and Wales from 1838- 1894 was due to the segregation of poverty-stricken sufferers into workhouses, rather than improvements in public living standards. He noticed that in Ireland, where poor relief continued to take place in the home, the death rate from TB rose instead of falling during the same period.


Instructions for after leaving the sanatorium

Newsholme continued to do battle with the disease as Principal Medical Officer for the Local Government Board from 1908-1918 and as a member of the Army Sanitary Committee during the First World War. He was knighted in 1917, received the Bisset Hawkins Medal the same year and later retired in 1919. Even after retirement, Newsholme continued to consult, write and lecture on public health until his death in 1943.

Instructions for after leaving the sanatorium

Newsholme’s papers are held in the LSHTM Archives and include private correspondence, Annual Reports of Local Government Boards and articles, reports and notes on tuberculosis, with particular reference to compulsory notification. The archive also holds his writings on other areas of medicine, notably infectious and epidemic diseases and all aspects of public health.

If you would like to view or find out more about Sir Arthur Newsholme’s papers, or the records of other scientists involved in the fight against TB, please visit our webpage at or contact us at

To find out more about World TB Day please visit

Or view an infographic here


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