Some Fife and Tayside discoveries and pioneers
The regions of Fife and Tayside are rich in medical history. Scotland’s significant world position in medical research is clear from the achievements of this area alone. Below is a list places you can go to see medical collections in museums and archives in Fife & Tayside.
Crail Museum & Heritage Centre
A small local history museum providing an insight into the past life of this Ancient Royal Burgh. Its collections include material on the history of local medical practitioners and their work, including the introduction of the NHS. There is also material relating to the District Nurse and the local pharmacy.
Crail KY10 3TL
Tel: 01333 450 869
St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum
This delightful local history museum features a reconstructed chemist’s shop with bottles, bed pans, pills and ointments – many of them made on the premises by the local pharmacists. There is also material on display from a local dentists dating back to the 1830s, including work bench, jewellers flame, anvil and hammer, tools and dentures.
12 North Street
Tel: 01334 477629
University of St Andrews Museum Collections
Anatomy and Pathology Collection
The Anatomy and Pathology Collection contains over 5,000 items, mainly gross wet and dry specimens, but also surgical instruments, wax and plastinated models, and teaching charts, some of the latter being produced by local artists.
Particular highlights include the collection of 91 incredibly detailed wax and plaster models of specific parts of the body, produced by companies such as Tramond of Paris in the late 19th century. The Collection also contains material such as the nine original watercolour drawings of a progressive dissection of the trunk and inguinal regions, produced by David Waterston, Professor of Anatomy 1914-1942, and artist J.T. Murray, and published as plates in the standard anatomical textbook, Anatomy in the Living Model, London, 1931. The Collection, including the historical models, is used for teaching in the University’s School of Medicine. It illustrates the development of teaching and research in the field of anatomy at the University of St Andrews, and is of professional interest to anatomists generally.
Access to the collection
Admission is free but due to the nature of the collections, access is subject to legal restrictions, and is by appointment only to legitimate enquirers.
Curator of the Anatomy and Pathology Collection
Medical and Biological Sciences Building
University of St Andrews
Tel: 01334 463551
University of St Andrews Library Special Collections
The Department of Special Collections is home to the Library’s collections of rare and early printed books, manuscripts, photographs and the University’s institutional archive (muniments). These form a superb resource for research and teaching in a wide variety of disciplines across the arts and sciences. The rare book collections include anatomical atlases and medical texts from the 15th century onwards, as well as the personal libraries of two medical practitioners: Sir John Wedderburn (1599-1679), physician to Charles I, and James Simson (1740-1770), second Chandos Professor of Medicine at the University. The manuscript collection includes medical lecture notes, H G Callan’s research on lampbrush chromosomes, reports of medical health officers in Fife, an army surgeon’s journals from 19th century India, hospital administrative records, accounts for medical treatments and recipes for home remedies.
Testimonials written in support of those applying to the University for the award of an MD degree form the most significant medical resource within the University’s archives. Covering 1718-1894, these were usually provided to the Senatus by practising doctors in support of named individuals and can be anything from formulaic testimonials of worthiness to full personal histories. Doctors in receipt of the St Andrews MD by testimonial included Jean-Paul Marat (1775), Edward Jenner (1792), and Nelson’s surgeon at Trafalgar, William Beatty (1817). Both testimonials and minutes of the Senatus are heavily used for family history and biographical research.
Access to collections
As reader space is very limited, access to the Reading Room is strictly by appointment only. Please contact us in advance to make an appointment.
Department of Special Collections
Tel: 01334 462339
Perth & Kinross Council Archive
Tayside Medical History Museum
Founded in 1989, the Tayside Medical History Museum is jointly managed by the University of Dundee Museum Services and NHS Tayside. Its collections represent the history of medicine and medical teaching in Dundee and Tayside over the past 200 years, and are displayed in both permanent displays and temporary exhibitions in the Medical School, Ninewells Hospital, as well as satellite displays in other hospitals around the region. The collections include surgical instruments, nursing medals and certificates, hospital equipment, plant medicines, early x-ray tubes and portraits of local medical personalities.
Tayside Medical History Museum
c/o University of Dundee Museum Services
University of Dundee
Dundee DD1 4HN
Tel: 01382 384310
University of Dundee Archive Services
The University of Dundee Archives hold a wide variety of collections that contain a wealth of material for all types of researcher: academic staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students, private researchers, including family historians, and school pupils.
The diversity of medical related research themes to be found within the collections is immense and includes history of insanity, tropical medicine, medical missions, surgery, pathology, infectious diseases and the experiences of women in the medical and nursing professions. These include documents and photographs from the Tayside Health Board in the Tayside area (asylums, hospitals, Boards of Management, Colleges of Nursing, for example); Dundee Dental Hospital; Manuscript Collections; and the University Records Collection which contains the records of various medical professors and lecturers.
The collection houses various pathological materials, including drawings, engravings and photographs. The majority of the pathological drawings are by Neil Stewart and feature comments by Sir William Tennant Gairdner, the eminent pathologist and physician.
Archive, Records Management
University of Dundee
Dundee DD1 4HN
Tel: 01382 384095
University of Dundee Museum Services
The University has a wide variety of museum collections acquired during the 130 years of the institution's existence, all of which are cared for by Museum Services, which stages regular exhibitions in the Tower Foyer and Lamb Galleries. These include scientific instruments, natural history, fine art and design. Collections of medical interest include models and instruments from the departments of Anatomy and Physiology, instruments and comparative anatomy specimens from the Dental School, instruments and equipment from Biological Sciences, and the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum, named in honour of its founder Professor D'Arcy Thompson, who was one of the principal founders of Dundee's Medical School. Museum Services is also jointly responsible for running the Tayside Medical History Museum.