Over the coming months, our ‘Summer Sites’ series will be featuring interesting Libraries and Institutions that are linked with medicine or healthcare studies and research which you can visit. They may have useful study resources, fascinating museum displays or be housed in historic buildings. Included in the posts will be details of nearby sights and attractions and we will suggest places where you can get a good snack, meal or cup of coffee to fuel your day. We hope these will encourage you to go out and enjoy London this summer.
The Royal College of Surgeons
Summer is (hopefully) coming, providing us all with chances to get out and explore London. One of the best things about studying in this city is the number of Libraries some of which are attached to famous medical institutions and colleges. One of these is the Library at the Royal College of Surgeons.
It is based in an elegant Georgian building overlooking Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Situated close to both Chancery Lane and Holborn Tube stations. There are also plenty of bus routes, many of these running to and from South London.
You can use the Library Reading Room during the College’s opening hours by contacting the Library. The Library has a famous historical medical collection but also keeps a number of journals in print and online. There are also printing and copying facilities and access to WiFi. The College’s strength is naturally in the field of surgery but it also covers anatomy, medical history and natural history. The Reading Room itself is a graceful space with high ceilings, lined with books and journals. It is a quiet and peaceful place in which to study or consult reference materials.
There are other reasons to visit. You could contact the Library and ask to have a look at the Reading Room and combine it with a trip to the Hunterian Museum. John Hunter was, of course, a St George’s man but when the government bought his collection, it was given over to the care of the Royal College of Surgeons. It forms the nucleus of the current collection and the Museum is full of fascinating objects displayed in an interesting interactive manner. This is reflected by the fact that it is popular with the general public. Temporary exhibitions take place across the year and there are also a range of lectures and events, details of which can be found on their website: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums/hunterian. You can also visit the shop, which sells, amongst other things, glow in the dark eyeballs. Entry is free and it is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am – 17.00pm (note that the Library is not open on Saturdays).
Near the Royal College of Surgeons:
Just on the other side of the field is the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Based in the famous architect’s former London residence it is full of wonderful things that he collected. Objects range from works by Hogarth to an Egyptian sarcophagus and entry is free. The Courtauld Gallery in Aldwych is part of the Courtauld Institute which is, like St George’s, part of the University of London. It’s permanent collection of paintings is popular with tourists and visitors, but St George’s students should be able to get free admission by showing their Student ID.
A cup of coffee and a sandwich?
In Lincoln’s Inn Field itself, there is a nice café with outside tables. There are also several supermarkets nearby so if it is sunny it is a good place for a picnic. If the weather is not so good there are several historic pubs in the area notably the Seven Stars in Carey Street and the Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. The best coffee in the area can be found in the Fleet Street Press cafe (3 Fleet Street).
Note: The RCS Library is going to be closed due to unforeseeable circumstances from 1 August to 4 September inclusive, further information is on the library webpages.
Library and Surgical Information Services
The Royal College of Surgeons
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
Tel: 020 7869 6555/6
Don’t forget– if you cannot make it in to St George’s Library over the summer, there are still many resources that you can access from a computer with internet access (logins may be required). See our online resources post for further information.