This week sees the completion of our project to catalogue our medical collections, which was generously funded by the Wellcome Trust. We’re very pleased to announce that all of the new catalogues are available online, and the collections themselves can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Over the past 30 months, we have catalogued 13 archive collections, repackaged hundreds of boxes, digitised 65 manuscripts, and numerous items will have undergone conservation treatment – phew!

Medical Manuscripts Image Capture
Digitising the medical manuscripts. Image credit Leeds University Library.

What’s been catalogued?

Leeds has been at the forefront of many advances in clinical practice for at least two hundred and fifty years, and the medical archives we’ve catalogued reflect this rich history. So what’s been included in the project?

  • Firstly, the Leeds School of Medicine Archive. The records date right back to its creation in 1831 and up to the present day. The archive is not only made up of administrative material – there are objects, records relating to individual staff and students, and a series of catalogues for the Pathological Museum.
Leeds General Infirmary Nurse Training Registers
Leeds General Infirmary Nurse Training Registers (MS 1656). Image credit Leeds University Library
  • Leeds was a centre for innovation in the fields of renal medicine and urology, and the archives of two surgeons reveal this history. These are the Leslie Pyrah Archive and the Frank Maudsley Parsons Archive. Pyrah became director of the Medical Research Council Unit in Leeds and set up the first artificial kidney unit in the UK at the LGI. Parsons was head of the unit and performed the first kidney dialysis at the Infirmary in 1956.
William Hey's Patient Casebook: Volume 2
MS 1991/1/2/2: Notebook of Medical and Surgical Case Histories: Volume 2, by William Hey (1765-1767). Image credit Leeds University Library.
  • The Bragg Family Collection contains the notebook of Sir William Henry Bragg and his son, Sir (William) Lawrence Bragg, detailing experiments made in connection with research on X-rays and the molecular structure of crystals at the University of Leeds in 1913. They were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915.
Leeds General Cemetery Burial Register
MS 421/3/1/6 Leeds General Cemetery Burial Register. Image credit Leeds University Library.

It’s been a fantastic achievement – a huge thank you to all of the team in Special Collections, our volunteers and interns, who have put in so much hard work over the last few years.

Even though the project is finished, we will continue to focus on our medical collections. Watch this space for updates!