The College is keen to grow our collections relating to the history of medicine. Our focus is particularly on the history of medical training, practice and development in Scotland but with the College’s membership spreading all over the world we are also enthusiastic about representing the experiences of our international members in the College’s collections.

We welcome all types of donations, from books and manuscripts to photographs and instruments. We are also keen to preserve the experiences of individual practitioners, so if you have a story to tell about your medical work we will be interested in capturing it for posterity.

Please contact us to discuss any potential donations.

Phone: +44 (0)131 225 7324
Address: Heritage, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ

Recent Donations

The College’s library was established in 1682 as a result of a donation of ‘three shelfes full of books’ by one of the College’s founders, Sir Robert Sibbald. Since that time our collections have grown to over 60,000 books and over 400 manuscript collections. The breadth and comprehensiveness of our collections is due in large part to generous donations, for which we are extremely grateful.

Below are details about our more recent donations.

Sydney Smith Murder Weapons


This collection is made up of an assortment of weapons, identified as being material taken as evidence from crime scenes, particularly murder and suicide investigations. A number of these weapons have attached evidence labels which identify the cases they belong to. The collection was previously owned by the forensic pathologist Sir Sydney Smith.

You can find out more about this collection on our heritage blog, and see individual items from this collection on our artefacts webpages.

Medico-Chirurgical Club


This club had its origins in 1822, in a contest for the position of physician at Edinburgh's New Town Dispensary. The collection consists primarily of a continuous run of minutes of the club, with some correspondence, papers and financial material.

This collection was donated to the College by a Fellow, Dr Iain F. MacLaren.

You can find out more about this collection on our heritage blog.

Medical Objects


The College is keen to expand our collection of medical objects. This particular example is a dispensing pot for Holloway's Ointment, a nineteenth century treatment which was considered to be a 'universal cure' for a wide range of conditions, including gout, hysteria and headaches.

This item was donated to the College by College Clerk John Stirling.

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