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The NHS Mobile X-Ray unit at St Andrews in the 1950s

This vintage home movie features a Mobile X-Ray unit from the NHS which was sent all around the country in years from the 1940s to 1960s carrying out TB tests on the general population.

About the Mobile X-Ray Film

I re-discovered the film in a small case of standard 8 vintage home movies I bought a few years ago but hadn't got round to looking at. It was on a small 4 inch reel and included a black & white film spliced onto the front which I'll publish at another time, but this film is a Kodachrome and has generally stood the test of time well.

The opening scenes were very useful for finding the location of the film, because the words "St Andrews Boys' Brigade" are written above the door of the building shown and are clearly readable. Although that gave me a huge clue, it then only took a couple of minutes searching to confirm that this film was shot in the Scottish town of St Andrews.

Mobile X-Ray Film still images

This gallery shows some images of the scenes from the film.

Mobile X-Ray unit film

The film actually features more than just the NHS mobile x-ray unit, there are some scenes arount St Andrews and the ruins of the cathedral, but I found the most interesting part to be the medical aspects of the film (particularly in the current situation we are all in).

When I first watched the film I'd not heard about the medical screening which took place using these vans, but a quick internet search revealed a page which gave some details.

Having read the page something tweaked in my memory, and I have a vague recollection of a similar van appearing either in the town I lived in as a boy (Fakenham in Norfolk) or possibly paying a visit to the school I attended. I could be wrong on this, memory is a funny thing, but since the vans were in use from the 1940s to the 1960s it's possible that I remember it - I would have been in primary school from about 1962.

I particularly found the scene where the NHS Staff come out of the van to line up for the photographer and be featured on their film interesting. I guess the NHS was held in the same high regard it is now and the photographer wanted to include the radiographers in their film.

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