Literary Institutions : The Medical Library

Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.

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Eneas Mackenzie, 'Literary Institutions : The Medical Library', Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827), pp. 496-497. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

Eneas Mackenzie. "Literary Institutions : The Medical Library", in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827) 496-497. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

Mackenzie, Eneas. "Literary Institutions : The Medical Library", Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827). 496-497. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,


It was always designed to establish a Medical Library in the Newcastle Infirmary, and the late Dr. Clarke made several unsuccessful efforts to carry the plan into execution. He, however, presented several valuable works to that hospital, and which tended to prevent his suggestions from being forgotten. At length, a better spirit prevailed; and, at a meeting of the medical officers of the Infirmary, called on October 4, 1819, to consider the propriety of establishing a library in that hospital, it was resolved to be "highly expedient to establish such an institution, both with the view of affording facilities for study to the profession at large, and for fixing for the reception of presents and bequests an eligible and permanent depot."

Any person may become a subscriber to this library, on paying an annual subscription of one guinea, unless he be a student, when he is required to pay only half-aguinea. Any subscriber may recommend a book. The books are kept in the physicians' room, which is open from 2 to 4 o'clock every day, Sunday and Thursday excepted. The property is invested in the medical officers of the Infirmary for the time being. A committee, treasurer, librarian, and secretary, are chosen on the Monday preceding the first Thursday in October. The committee to consist of one physician, one surgeon, and the librarian, who meet, or are consulted, on the 24th of every month, concerning the books recommended by the subscribers.

The medical officers of the Infirmary having reduced the fee they were accustomed to receive with students from 18 to 5 guineas, agreed that even this sum should be appropriated to the purchase of books for this library. Yet, notwithstanding so very liberal an example, most of the other gentlemen of the faculty in the town decline subscribing to this useful institution. They think that the committee should be chosen from amongst the whole body of subscribers; but, on the contrary, the medical officers allege, that the library is a constituent part of the General Infirmary, that it is kept in the physicians' room with the leave of the quarterly court, and that the property is invested in them only so long as they continue medical officers of the Infirmary; from which it follows, that gentlemen not holding office in this hospital cannot be admitted to share in the government of the library. Much of the success of this establishment is owing to the exertions of Mr. Church, the house surgeon. A catalogue of the books was published in 1823. The library at present contains upwards of 940 volumes, 130 of which were presented by Mr. Charnley. Many valuable works have been presented by the late C. J. Brandling, Esq. M. P. Drs. Headlam, Bulman, and Ramsay, and Messrs. Moore, Baird, Smiles, M'Intire, Church, &c.; and several were bequeathed by Mr. R. Ferguson.