Alt Ref NoMU
TitlePathology Museum
DescriptionRecords of the Pathology Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital, 1819-1950, comprising:

two volumes of minutes of the Museum sub-committee, 1878-1911;

printed catalogues of specimens held in the Museum, namely 'Description of the preparations contained in the Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital', 1831; copy of the same with substantial manuscript additions mostly by Edward Stanley and James Paget, describing specimens added to the Museum, between 1831-[1846]; 'Descriptive catalogue of the Anatomical Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital'. Vols I-III, 1846-1862; 'Descriptive catalogue of the Anatomical and Pathological Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital.' Vols I-II, 1882-1884; Addenda to the catalogue of the Anatomical and Pathological Museum, 1884-1888; 'Addenda for the years 1881-1893 to the descriptive catalogue of the Anatomical and Pathological Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital', 1894; 'Descriptive catalogue of the Pathological Museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College.' Vols I-II (pathological specimens only), 1929;

manuscript volume containing detailed case histories relating to 220 pathological specimens in the Museum, [1831-1845], compiled mostly by Edward Stanley and James Paget; manuscript catalogue of James Matthews Duncan's private collection of obstetric and gynaecological specimens which was donated to the Museum, [1868-1878]; two manuscript notebooks belonging to Anthony Alfred Bowlby, Surgical Registrar, St Bartholomew's Hospital, recording surgical pathological histology, 1884-1891; letters and memoranda, detailing patient case histories, which accompanied specimens sent to the Museum from internal and external sources, 1893-1895;

material relating to the Pathological Illustration collection and its arrangement, comprising: 1,842 drawings, photographs and prints depicting pathological subjects mostly executed by the Museum's resident artists Thomas Godart, Leonard Portal Mark, William Alfred Delamotte and the St Bartholomew's Hospital Photographic Society, but also by contemporary medical students, staff and alumni of St Bartholomew's Hospital and their external medical associates, 1819-1950; manuscript volume containing catalogue descriptions of the Pathological Illustration collection, relating to an attempt to rearrange the drawings to be more compatible with the Museum specimen collection, c.1873-1875; 'Descriptive catalogue of the drawings and photographs of diseased or injured parts (series LVII) in the museum of St Bartholomew's Hospital', 1893; two curator's copies of the same, mostly recording new additions to the collection, 1893-[1912];

pasted volume entitled: 'Series LII, LIII and LIV. Calculi and concretions' which compiled printed or typescript descriptions of the extant items from the calculi collection of the Museum, c.1920-1926; pasted volume entitled: 'Museum Catalogue: Calculi, Casts, Drawings, Teratology' which compiled printed or typescript descriptions of the extant calculi, plaster cast, pathological illustration and teratological collections in preparation for the last major rearrangement of the Museum specimen collection, [1929].
Related MaterialLists of specimens added to the Museum, 1882-1939 are published in St Bartholomew's Hospital Reports', (reference: SBHB/MS/23) and records of the Pathology Department (reference: SBHB/PA), are held by St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives.

Records of the Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital are catalogued as SBHMS.
Administrative historyThe earliest record of the existence of a museum collection at St Bartholomew's Hospital is in 1691, when a room in the basement of the Cutting Ward was provided by the Governors as a 'Repository for Anatomical or Chirurgical Preparations'. In 1726, the Assistant Surgeon, John Freke, was put in charge of the anatomical and surgical preparations in this room - however the scope of this original collection remained rather limited, comprising mainly of examples of urinary calculi, until the efforts of the surgeon and lecturer John Abernethy (1764-1830) and assistant surgeon Edward Stanley (1793-1862) who, on recognising the dearth of useful teaching material in the Museum, donated their own private anatomical collections to the Hospital in 1828. In the same year they secured the undertaking that all medical and surgical staff would send any interesting specimens they found to the central museum, rather than keeping them for their own collections. These steps ensured that the Hospital finally began to accumulate a teaching collection which was the equal if not the envy of other rival institutions. The first catalogue of the pathological collections at the Hospital was compiled shortly after by Edward Stanley (1793-1862) in 1831. Stanley was appointed Assistant Surgeon in 1816, and looked after the Museum for many years. James Paget became the Curator in 1837, and prepared a new catalogue which was published in 1846.

The Cutting Ward was demolished by the early 19th century, and it is unknown where the collections were housed until the opening of a purpose built Library and Museum Block as part of the medical college in 1879. The galleried museum space, spanning the third and fourth floors of the building, still houses the pathology collections today as Barts Pathology Museum. A workroom for the museum curator was established in 1902, when the Pathology Department was expanded.

Most of the specimens in the Museum would have been obtained directly from the Hospital, but many would have been donated as individual specimens or a collection. Donors include Percivall Pott, John Abernethy, Edward Stanley, Sir James Paget, and James Matthews Duncan, Physician Accoucheur and Lecturer in Midwifery at St Bartholomew's from 1877 to 1890. The catalogues of the Museum also trace the history of changing medical ideas, the changing nomenclature of disease and advances in pathology. The various specimens themselves demonstrate old surgical techniques, and occupational diseases and other diseases or conditions seldom seem now with advances in medical treatment. During the Second World War there was considerable disruption to the Museum, with material being lost and dispersed, but an extensive reorganisation was carried out after the war.
Access statusOpen
Arrangement of the recordsThere is a gap in the numbering of the sub-fond, meaning that there is no SBHB/MU/19.
Extent26 volumes; 1 envelope; 1,842 drawings & photographs
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