GLASGOW launched a five-week long, mass X-ray campaign against tuberculosis in March 1957. X-ray units across the city, with the administrative help of 20,000 volunteers, aimed to X-ray every Glasgow resident aged over 14. The launch took place on a Saturday night in George Square. Some 10,000 people flowed into the square and adjoining streets. Standing on a floodlit balcony in the City Chambers, John Maclay, Secretary of State for Scotland, read out a message of good wishes for the campaign’s success from the Queen.

The previous year had seen 363 Glaswegians dying from TB. The figure for 1950 had been 930. Despite the decrease, this newspaper remarked, the city’s death rate from TB was still one of the highest in Glasgow.

The campaign got off to such a positive start that by the end of the first day, March 11, some 25,000 people had volunteered to be X-rayed. The organisers said this was a world record for a single day, beating a total of 17,000 achieved by Los Angeles in 1952.

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Throughout the campaign, newspapers encouraged public interest with all sorts of stories. Tex Ritter, the singing cowboy, who was appearing at the Empire Theatre, was X-rayed. May Bygraves, who was also at the Empire, presented a washing machine to the winner of a lucky X-ray draw. The Evening Times reported that a special song had been written to make trendy teens “dig” the message that being X-rayed wouldn’t make them “square.”

In the end, 712,860 people were X-rayed - more than 85 per cent of the targeted population. “The figures we have reached,” said councillor John Mains, convener of the Corporation’s health and welfare committee, “will go down in medical history as a world record and a great achievement.”