number of children from the Harpenden Home were part of medical experiments into child growth. The idea of the test were that
as many of the children at the Harpenden Children’s Home were to be on site for several years, it would be quite easy
to study them over growth and other matters.
OUR TEST DATA
The data obtained from our tests was used as the bench mark for judging the
heights, weights and development of British children for many years. In later years it was thought that possibly the subjects
that were chosen as the test data might not fully represent the ordinary British child.
It was felt that there might be some slight delay in our development due to
physically been in a Children’s Home, made some data slightly out of date.
In the mid 1960’s we were living on a diet and experiencing many events
that a child in the 1940's or 1950's might have endured.
By the mid 1990’s children had physically changed. The diet of a child
at the end of the 20th century was totally different to that of the child in a Children’s Home in the mid 1960’s.
Education and social matters were totally different between these two groups.
For children that had been in care for most of their lives puberty might occur at a slightly later age.
Other factors as to racial and social background could easily show marked differences
between the two groups.
A new data set has now been devised to replace the original Tanner and Whitehouse
charts. Please see: Child Growth Foundation û their aim is to support and relieve all persons suffering from growth disorders
and their families in any manner which is charitable; promote and fund research into the causes and cure of disorders of growth
INSTRUMENTS OF TORTURE
Tanner/Whitehouse Skinfold Calliper
This instrument, which has been specifically designed for the accurate measurement
of sub-cutaneous tissue, was developed in close collaboration with the London University Institute of Child Health, and it
incorporates the recommended principles for standard usage in such measurements.
Measuring range: 0 mm to 48 mm.
Pressure between Anvils (constant): 10 gms/sq. mm.
Weight: 0 4 kg
Dial Graduation: 0 2 mm.
The "Harpenden" Stadiometer is a counter recording instrument, with an effortless
counter balanced movement. It will give an accurate and direct reading, to the nearest millimetre over a range of 600 mm to
The main frame of this instrument is rigidly made of light alloy angle and
provided with adjustable wall brackets for mounting purposes. The Stadiometer head-block operates via miniature ball-bearing
rollers in order to ensure a movement which is free yet without cross-play.
The Stadiometer is available with either a standard counter or a high speed
Veeder-Root counter (see price list for relevant order codes).
All metal parts have a silver/grey hammer finish .
Weight: 12.7 kg approx.
The "Harpenden" Anthropometer is a counter recording instrument which can be
effortlessly operated from the tips of its branches. Its user can, therefore, by means of his free finger-tips actually feel
his way to his desired measuring points in order to obtain a degree of accuracy not possible with conventional anthropometers.
This instrument gives a direct and accurate reading, to the nearest millimetre,
over a range of 50 mm to 570 mm. It is constructed mainly of light alloy anodised to its natural colour. Its sliding member
operates via miniature ball-bearing rollers in order to ensure a movement which is free yet without cross-play.
Each instrument is supplied in a well made carrying case, complete with straight
and recurved branches, a spare counter and beam extensions for the measuring of heights of up to two metres (When using these
a constant should be added to the counter reading).
Weight in case: 2.8 kg approx.
The Harpenden Neonatometer is a high accuracy, counter recording instrument,
specifically designed for growth studies. The ball-bearing mounted carriage has an extremely free movement and is operated
via a constant pressure lever, which automatically locks the carriage at the correct measuring point. This mechanism ensures
reproducibility of measurement and effectively eliminates variation due to differing operator techniques.
The Harpenden Neonatometer can be supplied in one of two standard lengths:
long, for normal neonates and short.
Measuring range: Long, 188 mm to 750 mm. Short, 180 mm to 600 mm.
Packed weight: 4kg
Child Attention Equipment
For the easy alignment of children into neat rows.
Crook-handled School Cane.
CLARITY OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS - What could show up on our medical photographs
The high quality images that were taken during our tests could show the slightest
The medical test photographs were taken a few days after my leg had been caned
by our class teacher. The photograph was eventually sent to the headmaster.
Worldwide Variation in Human Growth
Worldwide Variation in Human Growth
Phyllis B. Eveleth, James M. Tanner
Published January 1991
Hardback | ISBN: 0521350247
The health of a population is most accurately reflected in the rate of growth
of its children. It is this theme which underlies the analysis and presentation of what is by far the largest compilation
of growth data ever assembled. The first edition, published in 1976, included all known reliable recent results on height,
weight, skinfolds and other body measurements from all parts of the globe. In this edition, the very numerous measurements
taken between 1976 and 1988 have been included as well as the results of the large number of new studies made on rate of maturation
as evinced by bone age and pubertal development stages. Many sections of the book dwell on disentangling the effects of the
environment and heredity on growth, and thus answer the question of whether one universal standard suffices for all peoples
of the world, or whether different populations (such as races or nations) should each have their own optimal growth standards.
Written by practical people with experience of the problems in developing countries, this book explains in simple terms the
different sorts of growth surveys, how to set about making them, and which sort to choose.
Tanner, J, Whitehouse, R and Takaishi, M (1966a). Standards from birth to maturity
for height weight height velocity and weight velocity: British children 1965 Part I.
Tanner, J, Whitehouse, R and Takaishi, M (1966b). Standards from birth to maturity
for height weight height velocity and weight velocity: British children 1965 Part II.
Tanner, J and Whitehouse, R (1975). Revised standards for triceps and subscapular
skin folds in British children.
Tanner, J and Whitehouse, R (1976). Clinical longitudinal standards for height,
weight , height velocity and weight velocity and stages of puberty.
New Data Needed
Growth specialists are fairly sure the Tanner charts don't reflect the development
of today's adolescents, but until new work is done, no one knows to what extent. "We know from small studies that ethnicity,
nutrition and even the altitude of where you live affects age at puberty," We
also need to establish the best way of obtaining the information. Do we ask children themselves, or ask them to answer a survey?
Will they tell the truth, or what they think their friends are saying?
Boys become worried about puberty and body changes. We need to establish for
certain if boys' sexual maturity is happening earlier, taking longer, or is merely more apparent now. Studies so far show
boys probably have less access to information than girls; wet dreams and erections seem even less likely than periods to appear
as frank discussion topics in primary school and early secondary years.
Widths of bone muscle and fat in the upper arm and calf from age 3-18 years.
Tanner JM, Hughes PC, Whitehouse RH.
In the Harpenden Growth Study arm and calf radiographs were
taken on boys and girls over varying periods. Widths of bone, muscle and fat
halfway down the arm and at maximum calf diameter were measured, with widths of bone cortex and medulla where possible. Mean
distance and velocity curves are given for chronological age 3-18 years together with curves based on time from peak-height
velocity (PHV) and time from peak muscle velocity over the pubertal period. Muscle widths have their peak velocity more nearly
coincident with the sitting height peak than with PHV; in the average child the whole muscle spurt lasts two years from start
to finish. Calf muscle is much more pronounced in girls in comparison with boys than is arm muscle; this is true at all ages,
with sex differences at maturity amounting to 10% for calf and 20% for arm. Humerus cortex has a marked spurt in both sexes,
with the peak contemporaneous with the muscle peak. Both humerus and tibia medulla widths have a spurt in boys, but none in
girls, where the means do not change from age 11 onwards. The average girl actually loses fat in the arm for a year at puberty,
a result which contrasts with the velocity curve derived from mass cross-sectional data. Correlations between widths of bone
in arm and calf average 0.5 during the pre-adolescent years and 0.4 at maturity; those between muscle widths in arm and calf
0.4 in pre-adolescence and 0.4 again at maturity. Between-tissue correlations are very low at all ages.
The adolescent growth spurt
Boys and girls in the Harpenden growth study.
Tanner JM, Whitehouse RH, Marubini E, Resele LF.
Logistic curves have been fitted to the growth during puberty of the 55 boys
and 35 girls of the Harpenden Growth Study who were measured every three months during puberty and thereafter until growth
ceased. Very good fits were obtained for stature, sitting height, subischial leg length, biacromial and bi-iliac diameters
from approximately six months after the beginning of the adolescent spurt. This beginning, called "take-off", was determined
graphically as the point of minimum velocity. The total height gained from take-off point to cessation of growth averaged
28 cm in boys and 25 cm in girls with standard deviations of about 4 cm. The adult sex difference in height was due much more
to the later take-off in boys than to a greater male adolescent spurt. A sex difference in the spurt occurred in sitting height
but not in leg length. Mean-constant curves for the four measurements are presented. In each measurement size at take-off
and total adolescent gain were nearly independent, the average correlation coefficient being --0-2. The correlations between
adolescent gains in different measurements averaged only 0-47, and between peak velocities of different measurements only
0-27. This implies considerable shape change at adolescence. In contrast the average correlation between ages at which the
peak velocities were reached was 0-87. Ages at take-off, at peak velocity, and at menarche were independent of mature size,
though correlated with percentage of adult size reached at the ages in question, a measure of somatic maturity. Relationships
with the development of breasts, pubic hair and genitalia were examined; ages at take-off and at peak velocity correlated
to the extent of 0-6 to 0-8 with ages of B2 and PH2 but both these parameters and also peak velocities were uncorrelated with
the rapidity with which sex characters developed.
His work has included directing the Harpenden Growth Study, which ran from
1948 to 1971, and publishing an Atlas of Children's Growth: Normal Variation and Growth Disorders. The Atlas provides an excellent
example of modern somatotyping in which the old quarrels are transcended. Here we can see how the various difficulties in
somatotyping have been dealt with in practice. He provides photos that illustrate: both the difficulty and feasibility of
somatotyping children, how well the somatotypes of children match their adult somatotypes (following Walker and Tanner, 1980),
the issue of the relative constancy of size and shape during childhood, longitudinal series of monozygotic twins that tracks
their development from childhood to maturity.
Destruction of Children
It appears that all the photographs that were taken during our many tests were
destroyed - unless anyone knows better?
All the photographs will show fine height guide lines in the background.
"Professor Tanner retired some years ago, but one of his colleagues remembers
his work and the studies which were carried out. When Professor Tanner retired, all the photographs and negatives remained
at the Institute, and were stored in a fire-proof steel-lined room. In 1998, this room was converted into a laboratory, and
it was decided that all the contents should be destroyed. The photographs and negatives were carefully removed and destroyed
by a professional company which specialises in the incineration of highly confidential material."