Prescott Hewett was appointed the first curator of the museum in the 1840s, and he also introduced the practice of keeping post mortem books. The curator of the museum was also responsible for conducting post mortem examinations together with the assistant curator, and the post mortem casebooks frequently refer to pathological specimens preserved in the museum. Specimens were regularly obtained from post mortem examinations or during surgery at the hospital, and the museum has continued to be an integral part of teaching at St George's.
The first printed museum catalogue was published in 1866, edited by John William Ogle and Timothy Holmes. This was apparently based on a scheme by Henry Gray, which however has not survived.
The museum was rearranged in 1881, and a new numbering system was adopted. In 1882, a supplementary catalogue, edited by Isambard Owen, was published.
Additionally, two manuscript catalogues exist, the first one covering the years 1884-1899, and the second one 1900-c.1917.
The so-called ‘Green books’ include ‘historical specimens’, numbered 1-101 and introduce a new classification based on diseases.