History Collections
Find out more about history collections and History Day

History Collections

Find out more about history collections and History Day

a picture of a Wheatstone Telegraph from the 19th century.

King’s College London, Libraries & Collections





King’s Libraries offer a huge multidisciplinary information resource base including over 1.2 million printed books and ebooks; more than 60,000 journals, reference tools, statistical data, official publications, maps, music scores, multimedia resources, photographs and manuscripts, as well as Archives (5 million items) and Special Collections of international standing.


History Day 2023 contributions



History Day 2022 contributions


King’s College London History day 2022

Online exhibitions

Parkinson of the disease: marks the 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s characterisation of a hitherto little known disorder of shaking, posture and altered gait. 

Section of ‘The very age and body of the time’: Shakespeare’s worldBubonic plague: the medical practices of Shakespearean England, focusing on the outbreaks of plague in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 

The great leveller: humanity’s struggle against infectious disease: outlines the efforts of various medical practitioners to eradicate a selection of infectious diseases, reflecting the leading role which King’s has long played in medical research and, more recently, in the history of medicine and science. 

Section of Imperial designs: technology and empire in the 19th centuryA ‘national disgrace’: sanitation, sewage and agriculture: covering the period when Britain experienced the peak of her imperial and industrial power, this exhibition highlights the technological and economic progress made by Britain in the nineteenth century; this section of the exhibition focuses on developments in sanitation and their health benefits. 

Learning from Lister: marking the centenary of the death of the celebrated surgeon, Joseph, Baron Lister, by bringing Lister’s career and milieu to life through artefacts, personal effects, documents and books. 

Nightingale and hospital design: the impact of Florence Nightingale upon the design of hospitals and nurses’ training. 

From Microbes to Matrons: The Hidden History of Hospital Infection Control: this exhibition explores the history of hospital infection and ways in which hospital staff attempted to tackle it. 

Mind Matters: neuroscience and psychiatry: explores aspects of the history of neuroscience and psychiatry from 1800 to 1945, with special reference to the important contributions made by staff of King’s. 


Everyday technology firsts 

From woodcut to photograph: techniques of book illustration: explores the history of the development of illustrative techniques from woodcuts through to photographs.  

Imperial designs: technology and empire in the 19th century: covers the period between 1815 to 1870 when Britain was at the peak of her industrial power. The exhibition explores telegraphy, railway, the channel tunnel, maritime innovations, and scientific discoveries.  

The printed page: explores the development of the printing press and printing techniques. 

Professor Sir Charles Wheatstone: covers Professor Sir Charles Wheatstone’s life and work as a scientist, inventor and businessman, including his involvement in the invention of telegraphy and the stereoscope. 


Blog posts

Pandemics: Parallels in Past and Present: a blog post written by William Wood, Senior Library Assistant at the Foyle Special Collections Library using the UK Medical Heritage Library to explore 19th century experiences of epidemics, contagion, and quarantine. 


Collections pages

Guy’s Hospital Historical Collection: consists of 4,427 books and 1,615 journals which reflect the whole range of biomedical sciences, including surgery, materia medica, botany, pharmacology, forensic medicine, dentistry and comparative anatomy. 

Guy’s Hospital Physical Society Collection: The Physical Society of Guy’s Hospital (1771-1852) was one of the many societies in which scientific ideas were discussed in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth centuries; includes many of the most important medical works of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. 

Institute of Psychiatry (IOP) Historical Collection: covers the whole range of psychological science and includes works of neuroscience in addition to academic monographs on psychiatry. 

KCSMD Historical Collection: consists of approximately 1350 books, covering the history of medicine from the time of Hippocrates to the turn of the twentieth century as well as incorporating items relating to the history of the King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

St Thomas’s Hospital Historical Collection: comprises the pre-1901 holdings of the St. Thomas’s Hospital Medical School. These include, for the most part, the textbooks and periodicals which were used by medical students from the 18th century onwards. 

WHEATSTONE, Sir Charles (1802-1875) (Archives): consists of 18 boxes of Professor Sir Charles Wheatstone’s personal papers, including experimental notes, working papers, correspondence and lecture summaries. 

Wheatstone Collection (Special Collections): consists of approximately 2,000 items and is representative of prominent nineteenth century scientific thought as well as providing an insight into one of the great minds of that century, Professor Sir Charles Wheatstone. 



History Day 2021 contributions


Online exhibitions


Blog post


Collections pages

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Historical Collection The former library collection of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office contains a huge amount of material relating to natural resources and trade across the world.
  • Stebbing Collection: TRR Stebbing (1835-1926) was a cleric and gentleman-naturalist chiefly remembered for two major works on the classification of amphipod crustacea, and for his contribution to the reports of the HMS Challenger expedition.



History Day 2020 contributions