Audio Clip

Glasgow Herald, 5 July 1948. 
Credit: The Herald

Professor Jimmy Williamson
George Orwell as a patient

History of NHSScotland – Public Health Challenges – Improving Public Health - Tuberculosis

“George Orwell was not a big name in 1948 you know. He wasn’t a well known chap generally, I mean he was well known in the literary circles but he was not well known to the general public. Just to illustrate, I got a signed copy of Animal Farm and I left it in the Hospital, it would probably be worth several hundred pounds by now. But he was just in an ordinary bed, I mean he was in a room with another bed. It was interesting because the other bed came to be occupied by this chap from Dundee who was a journalist with the Thomson lot and he had written a lot of sort of school boy things, about public schools and things, the Senior Surgeon who was Bruce Dick, anticipated there would be great ructions but in fact they got on very well – they managed to reach some accommodation and treated each other with respect. He didn’t really speak very much George Orwell, partly because he was always typing. He was a pretty uncommunicative chap, I think everyone said that about him as a patient.