- 1950s - 2000s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
6 linear metres
Name of creator
John Stenlake was educated at Ealing Grammar School and served an apprenticeship in pharmacy before attending the College of the Pharmaceutical Company. He qualified as a pharmaceutical chemist in 1941. After war service in the Royal Air Force, he was appointed to the teaching staff at the University of London. During this time he graduated BSc in chemistry. He was awarded a PhD from London University in 1950 and a DSc in 1960 for work in the field of medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry.
In 1952 he was appointed senior lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry at the Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow (later the University of Strathclyde). In 1961 he was appointed professor of pharmacy at the College, a post he held until 1982.
Professor Stenlake was awarded the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Harrison memorial medal in 1974 and the Charter gold medal in 1990, recognising, among other achievements, his contribution to the design and synthesis of atracurium besylate. This drug was the first short acting and readily reversible skeletal muscle relaxant for use in surgery. It was developed by a research team led by Professor Stenlake in the pharmacy department of the University of Strathclyde in collaboration with the Wellcome Foundation. The royalties from the drug brought in considerable revenue for the University, supporting the institution’s academic development in the 1980s. Stenlake also won the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Hanbury Memorial Medal in 2001.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The family of John Stenlake.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Most of the collection comprises research notes and papers and article reprints arising from Professor Stenlake’s research into the design and synthesis of the drug atracurium besylate, the first short acting and readily reversible skeletal muscle relaxant for use in surgery. There are also papers relating to Stenlake’s teaching, lectures and administrative responsibilities as well as to his education and awards. There are also photographs of Stenlake and other University of Strathclyde staff.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Some papers may be restricted in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation.
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
This collection has not yet been catalogued. An interim box list of a small portion of the collection is available on request.