History Collections
Find out more about history collections and History Day

History Collections

Find out more about history collections and History Day

Royal College of Surgeons of England

​The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s Library and Archive reopens in November 2021 after a major redevelopment. The Library and Archive collections support academic research across several disciplines, including history of medicine, anatomy, zoology, social history, military history and art.

See the collections being moved back into the Royal College of Surgeons of England Library. https://vimeo.com/616904600/bc55bdfc39.

Search our Library catalogue: https://scp.rcseng.ac.uk/client/en_GB/default
Search our Archive catalogue: http://surgicat.rcseng.ac.uk/

Contact the Archives team: archives@rcseng.ac.uk
Contact the Library team: library@rcseng.ac.uk

History Day 2020 contributions

  • Blog post: Sir Harold Gillies’ Patient Case Files, 1915-1925. (RCSEng Archives Ref. MS0513)
  • Blog post: “More ruthless than the Destroying Angel.” The London Lock Hospital and Rescue Home collection at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
    You can read all of our blogs at: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/library-and-publications/library/blog/.
  • History Day exhibition: Depicting Anatomy: The hunt for unalloyed reality
    From Renaissance public dissecting tables to the beautiful intricate illustrations contained in Victorian portable reference works, anatomy books have strived to depict and illuminate what is known about the inner workings of the body. These books made knowledge accessible to those who desired most to learn, which included a much greater audience than simply medical students, encompassing as it did; royalty, the intelligentsia and the man in the street. Anatomists like Vesalius made no secret of the fact that there was no substitute for practical experience of dissection, which helped to gradually bring the practice out of the graveyard shadows and into the well-lit rooms of surgical schools. The artistic and technical skill applied to this field aimed for the greatest accuracy possible, conscious that inaccuracy might compromise clinical and surgical treatment of the patient. Such high stakes led anatomical drawings to be executed with great precision, often using dissected specimens and sometimes studying the human form in motion as well. This exhibition focuses on images from our collections that do not always make easy viewing but can and should be considered artistically accomplished. They were intended to be beneficial to the contemporary student of anatomy and now they offer the modern observer a fascinating record of the progression of understanding in the field.All of our digital displays can be seen at https://scp.rcseng.ac.uk/client/en_GB/exhibitions/
  • Video: Depicting Anatomy: The hunt for unalloyed reality