TL1698 : Grave of X-ray pioneer Alfred Caleb Taylor, Longthorpe

taken 2 years ago, near to Longthorpe, Peterborough, Great Britain

Grave of X-ray pioneer Alfred Caleb Taylor, Longthorpe
Grave of X-ray pioneer Alfred Caleb Taylor, Longthorpe
Alfred Caleb Taylor, a British pioneer of X-ray technology who is not as well known as his achievement deserves, is buried in the churchyard of St. Botolph's at Longthorpe near Peterborough.
Taylor was born in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, on December 29th., 1860. He began working at the Peterborough Infirmary in 1880 as a dispenser and served in a managerial role as Secretary of the Infirmary from 1889 until his retirement in 1926. A keen photographer, he also chaired the Peterborough Photographic Society.
Taylor was an early advocate of X-ray technology and designed and built his own equipment at the infirmary in 1896. The device, which ranked as the first X-ray machine in the United Kingdom outside London, was powered by accumulators which were recharged at a local flour mill as there was no public electricity supply at that time. In line with contemporary photographic technology, the images which his equipment produced were positives rather than the negatives which we know today.
The dangers of prolonged exposure to radiation were little known at the time and - like many pioneers of the technology - Taylor's work exacted an enormous personal toll on his health. He contracted radiation poisoning, which resulted in him losing three fingers on his left hand and one on his right. Taylor expressed no regrets, however, remarking at the end of his life that he would have done exactly the same again. In gratitude for his sacrifice on behalf of others, he was presented with a cheque for 700 (GBP 700) on his retirement in September 1926; adjusted for inflation, this sum was equivalent to 40,460 (GBP 40,460) at 2018 prices. Sadly, Taylor died in Peterborough less than a year later on July 26th., 1927.
The building on Priestgate which once housed the infirmary is now occupied by the Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, whose exhibits include a preserved Victorian operating theatre partly dedicated to Taylor's memory. In addition, a new four-storey accommodation block for medical students was opened at Peterborough City Hospital in Bretton Gate on February 17th., 2015, and was named Alfred Caleb Taylor House in his memory.
There is a personal connection between Taylor and me (Paul Bryan) because he was my maternal great-great-uncle. Perhaps I inherited my interest in photography from my esteemed ancestor.

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TL1698, 44 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 17 November, 2018   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 21 November, 2018
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  Suburb, Urban fringe  Health and social services  Burial ground, Crematorium 
Person (from Tags)
Alfred Caleb Taylor 
Place (from Tags)
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 1628 9834 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:34.2278N 0:17.1436W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 1628 9834
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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Grave  Grave Stone  Gravestone  Graveyard  Church Graveyard  Churchyard 

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