- 1534-1994 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
507 volumes (approx. 45 linear meters)
Name of creator
St George's, University of London (legal name St George's Hospital Medical School, informally St George's or SGUL), is a medical school located in Tooting in South West London. The Medical School shares a closely related history with St George's Hospital, which opened in 1733 at Lanesborough House, Hyde Park Corner in Central London. St George's was the second institution in England to provide formal training courses for doctors (after the University of Oxford). The Medical School became a constituent college of the University of London soon after the latter's establishment in 1836.
From the very beginning, the physicians and surgeons were permitted by the laws of the Hospital to have a limited number of pupils. A formal register of pupils was maintained from 1752. The earliest recorded course of lectures at the hospital was that delivered by Sir Everard Home some time before 1803. Prior to this, there were no lectures and little regular teaching at all in the Hospital other than what the students could pick up from the physicians and surgeons on their way round the wards. Attempts to remedy this situation were a cause of friction between renowned surgeon John Hunter and his colleagues. In 1793 they drew up a number of suggestions and regulations relating to the instruction and discipline of the pupils of the hospital.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century medical training became more structured, and pupils at St George's were required to learn anatomy at various private anatomy schools, such as the Great Windmill Street School of Medicine established by William Hunter, the brother of John Hunter; the Grosvenor Place School of Anatomy and Medicine established by the former St George's pupil Samuel Lane, the Dean Street School of Medicine run by Joseph Carpue or Joshua Brookes' school of anatomy. Chemistry was taught at the Royal Institution in Albermarle Street in addition to the clinical subjects which were dealt with at St George's Hospital.
Samuel Lane's anatomy school was also known as 'The School of Anatomy and Medicine adjoining St George's Hospital'. Due to disagreement between Lane and other medical officers at St George's, it was seen as essential to have a school of anatomy more closely connected to St George's and controlled by staff there. This led to surgeon Benjamin Brodie purchasing a house on Kinnerton Street, which he then leased back to St George's for use as an anatomy theatre, a lecture room and a museum. As a result of this, for 20 years there were now two rival schools associated with St George's. Attempts were made to amalgamate the two schools, but none succeeded. Finally the Kinnerton School moved to buildings attached to the hospital in 1868 and became the sole 'Medical School of St George's Hospital'. Lane's school closed down in 1863.
Although pupils were trained at the Hospital from its foundation, the medical school was not formally established until 1834 when it opened at the premises on Kinnerton Street. The formal opening ceremony for the school was held in 1835 in the Anatomy Theatre on the premises, and saw the dissection of an ancient Egyptian mummy.
In 1868 the medical school at Kinnerton Street was moved to the buildings at the south-west corner of the hospital site in Hyde Park itself, with the main entrance in Knightsbridge and the back entrance on Grosvenor Crescent Mews. Until 1946 the Medical School, although recognised as a School of London University, was controlled by a Medical School Committee, made up of honorary staff of the Hospital. In 1945 the Medical School Committee was divided into a School Council and an Academic Board.
In 1915, in response to wartime staff shortages, St George's admitted its first four female medical students. Just before the outbreak of World War Two, it was decided that St George's needed to be rebuilt on its Hyde Park Corner site. The plan was however abandoned by the commencement of the war. During the War, against a background of the population shift from central London, discussions took place which paved the way for Saint George's to be rebuilt and transferred out of the city centre. With the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, the hospital became part of the Saint George's Hospital Teaching Group of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. Soon after, the Board of Governors persuaded Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Health, that the new Hospital should be built on the Grove Fever Hospital and Fountain Hospital sites in Tooting.
The building of the new Saint George's at Tooting, South West London, began in 1973. The first phase of the new Saint George's Hospital Medical School opened in 1976. The Hospital at Hyde Park closed its doors for the final time in 1980 and HM Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the new St George's Hospital and Medical School at Tooting on 6 November 1980.
Name of creator
St George's Hospital opened in 1733 at Lanesborough House, Hyde Park Corner in London, in what was then a countryside location. The hospital owes its existence to four men, Henry Hoare, William Wogan, Robert Witham and the Reverend Patrick Cockburn, who collectively founded the Westminster Public Infirmary in Petty France in 1720. The ever increasing needs of the sick forced the Westminster Public Infirmary to seek improved and enlarged premises. A disagreement between members of both the Governors and medical staff on the choice of building led to the founding of both Westminster Hospital in Castle Lane and Saint George's Hospital on Hyde Park Corner.
In 1735, Saint George's Hospital purchased the freehold of Lanesborough House, two adjoining houses and two acres of land. Under the direction of Isaac Ware of the Board of Works, the hospital was enlarged to accommodate 200 patients. By 1825 the hospital was falling into disrepair. A competition was held for the design of a new hospital. It was won by William Wilkins, and the new building was opened at Hyde Park Corner in 1829. Since its foundation, Saint George's Hospital has been training medical students. In 1834, a medical school was established in Kinnerton Street and it was incorporated into the main hospital building in 1868.
Just before the beginning of the Second World War, it was decided that Saint George's needed to be rebuilt on its Hyde Park Corner site. The plan was however abandoned by the commencement of hostilities. During the War, against a background of the population shift from central London, discussions took place which paved the way for Saint George's to be rebuilt and transferred out of the city centre. With the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, the hospital became part of the Saint George's Hospital Teaching Group of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. Soon after, the Board of Governors persuaded Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Health, that the new hospital should be built on the Grove Fever Hospital and Fountain Hospital sites in Tooting. Patients began to be admitted into the Grove Hospital in 1951 and, by 1953, the Grove Hospital was designated to Saint George's and responsibility for it was transferred from the Wandsworth Hospital Group to the Board of Governors of Saint George's. The Fountain Children's Hospital site adjacent to the Grove Hospital was added to the land available for the Saint George's Hospital redevelopment when the Fountain transferred to Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton.
The building of the new Saint George's at Tooting, South West London, began in 1973. Following the reorganisation of the National Health Service in 1974, the Board of Governors was disbanded, and the responsibility for Saint George's Hospital was passed to the Wandsworth and Merton District of the Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority. South West Thames Regional Health Authority assumed responsibility for the rebuilding of the new Saint George's. The first phase of the new Saint George's Hospital Medical School opened in 1976. The hospital at Hyde Park closed its doors for the final time in 1980 and HM Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the new St George's Hospital and Medical School at Tooting on 6 November 1980. Lanesborough Wing, the first of the ward blocks opened in 1980. In 1993, Saint George's Hospital came under the control of Saint George's Healthcare NHS Trust.
The hospital has been administered by the following:
1733 - 1948: Saint George's Hospital
1948 - 1974: Saint George's Hospital Teaching Group of South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
1974 - 1982: Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority of South West Thames Regional Hospital Board
1982 - 1993: Wandsworth District Health Authority of South West Thames Regional Hospital Board
1993 - : Saint George's Healthcare NHS Trust
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Collection of rare books accumulated by the medical school library when it was originally located at Hyde Park Corner and in Tooting, as well as books donated, owned or written by St George’s staff and alumni. The descriptions note ownership inscriptions present in the volumes
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Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
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Name access points
- Gray, Henry (Contributor)
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Initially catalogued by Carly Manson in 2019. Edited and supplemented by Juulia Ahvensalmi 2022