During the period 1974-89, 169 children with Hodgkin's disease were treated in the Paediatric Oncology Units of the Royal Marsden and St Bartholomew's Hospitals. The overall actuarial survival for the whole group was 81% at 10 years. Thirty-five of the 169 children either did not achieve a complete remission or subsequently relapsed. The estimated actuarial survival from initial relapse or failure of primary treatment was 60% at 5 years and 45% at 10 years. Over half of the patients requiring salvage therapy had declared themselves within 2 years and only 3 relapses occurred more than 3 years from diagnosis. Very few patients remain disease free long term after failure of primary and initial salvage therapy. Patients relapsing within a year of diagnosis or not achieving a complete response to primary therapy and those with disseminated relapse had a poor response to salvage therapy. A significant subgroup of patients had prolonged survival despite multiple relapses. Neither initial histology nor stage affected survival from relapse although numbers in each subgroup were small.