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British Isles Free Web Sites: Science

Selective guide to free web sites about the British Isles organized by broad topics: general and history; images and museums; libraries; literature/language; news; politics, government, and contemporary society.


Casebooks Project

The Casebooks Project is a digital product offering a tool for searching and reading the medical records of the astrologers Simon Forman and Richard Napier. It covers 1596-1634. The project is ongoing: 48,500 cases are now live. When complete, it will contain 80,000 cases and images of the manuscripts. Our editors transcribe the formulaic material at the beginning of each entry, and categorise and tag it using historically sensitive analytic categories. Full transcriptions of the casebooks are not provided, but other information in the records, including information about individuals and their associates, is tagged and can be searched.

Florence Nightingale Digitization Project

Began in 2014 as a collaborative effort between the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, England, the Boston University Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, the Royal College of Nursing and the Wellcome Library. More collaborative partners are in the process of joining the Project. Together, these institutions have compiled their holdings into a collaborative database consisting currently of more than 2,300 letters handwritten or narrated by Florence Nightingale that for the first time are now available to researchers through a single source.

Royal College of Physicians

Founded in 1518 by a Royal Charter from King Henry VIII, the Royal College of Physicians of London is the oldest medical college in England. It continues to play a pivotal role in raising standards and shaping public health today. This site has been created as part of our 500 year anniversary programme to celebrate the story of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) over 5 centuries.Gallery of Images, 1500s-1900s,  video archive, timeline, info about events at their museum/library.

Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library is one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history. It offers also offer a growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society. The Library was founded on the collections of Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936). Born in Almond, Wisconsin, Wellcome became a pharmaceutical salesman and moved to London in 1878 at the encouragement of Silas Burroughs, with whom he entered into partnership to create the firm of Burroughs Wellcome. The business flourished, and Wellcome became sole owner after Burroughs's death in 1895. After the death of Burroughs, much of Wellcome’s energy was directed towards developing his collections. His main interest was focused on the history of medicine, including ancillary subjects such as alchemy, witchcraft, anthropology and ethnography. He began collecting books seriously in the late 1890s, and artefacts shortly after. He sought to create both a Library and a Museum. Wellcome died in 1936. He bequeathed the bulk of his estate, including ownership of his pharmaceutical company and his collections, to a body of trustees, who formed the Wellcome Trust. Their primary duty was to use the income generated by the company to support ongoing biomedical research, but they were also charged with fostering the study of medical history through the care and maintenance of the collections. The Museum artefacts were transferred from the 1970s to 1982 to the Science Museum.  The Library's story during the later decades of the 20th century was one of continuing growth and development, with an ongoing acquisitions programme and expanding use. A Contemporary Medical Archives Centre was formed in 1979 to collect records of important 20th-century medical organisations and individuals. A significant addition during the 1980s was the purchase of the manuscripts, and about 10 000 printed books, from the Medical Society of London Library. The Wellcome Trust's activities around the history of medicine, and on the public understanding of science, were brought together in 1998 to create a new Medicine, Society and History Division that included the Library. The Trust’s Information Service (created to serve the Trust's internal needs and as a resource in the growing field of public understanding of science) was incorporated in 1998, and the Library widened its scope to included public understanding of science. The Medical Photographic Library, and Medical Film and Video Library also became part of the Library in 1998.




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