The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, founded in 1505, is one of the oldest medical incorporations in continuous existence in the world.

The Archive houses important special collections of personal archives, such as the papers of James Young Simpson, Lord Lister and Joseph Bell (of Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes fame). The Archive also holds institutional records dating from the 1460s, with extensive archival material relating to the college membership, and to the history of medicine and surgery in Scotland.

Supported by the Wellcome Trust’s Research Resources in Medicine History grants scheme, a major project is underway to preserve and catalogue the institutional archives of the RCSEd, with the project remit encompassing RCSEd’s associated bodies, including the Society of Barbers, Royal Odonto-Chirurgical Society of Scotland, School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh and the Lothian Surgical Audit.


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