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Collection of Thomas Jaffrey McNair

Identifier: Coll-1269

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed largely of black and white photographs reflecting Thomas Jaffrey McNair's study and leisure-time activities while at Edinburgh University. There are photographs of:

  1. group photo Union women's dinner 1949
  2. group photo Union men's dinner 1949
  3. group photo Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Mr Walter Mercer's Clinique, Winter 1947
  4. group photo Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Winter 1949-1950
  5. large photos, 1946-1947, of Dr. Helen Wright, Dr. Kelman Robertson, Dr Campbell doing a post-mortem, Professor Murray-Lyon and Professor Mackay
  6. collection of smaller photographs showing student charities activities out and about in Edinburgh's Princes Street and at the Old Quad, the Edinburgh University Air Squadron of which McNair was a member, the Hockey team of which Sybil Monteith Dick Wood was a member, and the Royal Medical Society
  7. collection of smaller photographs showing the dome at the Old Quad for the 'Students Handbook', the dissecting room, Christmas activity in
  8. Ward 13 at the RIE, various members of staff including Professor Brash, Dr. Henry Matthew, Dr, Fergus Hewat, Professor Gaddum, Dr. Trowell, Sir Derrick Dunlop, Dr. Walmsley, Professor Keller, Dr. C.P.Stewart
  9. collection of smaller photographs showing lectures and lecturers, the Old Quad, Rectorial ceremonial with General Eisenhower and Montgomery, Admiral Cunnigham, Sir John Fraser and Sir John Falconer, and 1963 Final Year Dinner

There is also a black, zipped, soft-leather storage case holding many dozens of strips of negative film taken with a Leica camera and covering the years 1946-1956, and showing: Edinburgh University, Eisenhower, Montgomery, Professor Gaddum, Dr. Eggleton, Varsity Sports, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Royal Medical Society, Dublin Settlement Day, and various travels locally around Edinburgh and district, and in Switzerland. The contents are indexed into 13 sets, and indexed presumably by McNair.


  • Creation: 1946-1963


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of any visit.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Jaffrey McNair was born on 1 March 1927. He was educated at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, and he studied at Edinburgh University, graduating MB, CHB in 1949, and being awarded later on with the degree of MD (1960) for his thesis Observations on visceral pain with special reference to pain originating in the testis. In 1951 he married Dr. Sybil Monteith Dick Wood, and between 1950 and 1952 he served as a Flight-Lieutenant in the RAF. Also in 1950 he was a Medical Officer at Marlu in Ghana (then called the Gold Coast).

McNair became House Surgeon, then Registrar, and Clinical Tutor at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI), 1949 to 1960. In 1960 he was an Instructor in Surgery at the University of Illinois, USA. Between 1961 and 1964 he was Consultant Surgeon at the Eastern General Hospital in Edinburgh and then later on transferred to the Chalmers Hospital until 1981. Earlier, in 1964 he instituted the Accident and Emergency Service in the ERI. From 1976 to 1987 he was Honorary Senior Lecturer in Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh University

McNair was Surgeon to the Queen in Scotland between 1977 and 1987. He was awarded the CBE in 1988, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons the same year. He was President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, 1985-1988. Latterly he was the Senior Consultant Surgeon at the ERI. His publications include the 8th and 9th editions of Emergency surgery in 1967 and 1972.

Thomas Jaffrey McNair died on 27 April 1994.


1 box

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material acquired June 2010. Accession no: E2010.20

Related Materials

Collection of material relating to Thomas Jaffrey McNair at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, References: GB 779 RCSEd GD/18 (and RS Q3).

Processing Information

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.

Photographic material relating to Thomas Jaffrey McNair CBE (1927-1994) while studying at Edinburgh University
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379