MoreBooks: Inclusivity

The 2023 MoreBooks campaign is now on at St George’s Library until 21st April. This year, we want to focus on widening our collection with more books on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) topics in relation to health, biomedicine or higher education education. Let us know what you’d like to see on our shelves to reflect YOU better. All suggestions welcome.

How do I take part? More Books Inclusivity Poster

You can do this in two ways:

1) Visit our in-person station in the library between now and 21st April and fill in our suggest a book form.

2) Visit us online and fill in our online suggest a book form– make sure you tick the box More Inclusive Books so we know your suggestion supports our campaign.

What happens next?

Library staff will review suggestions and feedback on which items we’ve added to the collection later this year. The items selected will also be highlighted on our Inclusive Education Resources listing and our wider EDI collections curated on Hunter.

More information

For more information about how the Library is supporting EDI, see our webpage.

‘We need a million, we have a million needs’: Funding St George’s, from slavery to NHS

This blogpost introduces a project in the Archives and Special Collections to uncover the origins and history of the charitable funding model of St George’s prior to the establishment of the NHS in 1948. The project is on-going, and much of the research into the backgrounds of these donors and funders has been undertaken by Arianna Koffler-Sluijter, and research is currently conducted by Patrick Worsfold. This blogpost was written by Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi.

St George’s history reaches back to the 18th century: St George’s Hospital was founded in 1733 at Hyde Park Corner, and although the medical school (now university) was not formally founded until 1834, its history is closely linked with that of the hospital from the early days: the physicians and surgeons took pupils from the very beginning, and the student registers go back to 1752. Although the hospital and the university are now separate entities, their history is closely intertwined, from shared premises (then, as now) to staff working across both and students learning not only through lectures but also through practice at the hospital.

‘Professional teaching round on a ward’, 1970s; and an extract from St George’s Medical School Prospectus 1866. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

Prior to the establishment of the NHS in 1948, the hospital was funded by charitable donations and subscriptions. SGUL Archives and Special Collections hold various lists of these early donors to St George’s. There are thousands of names; some only donated a small amount of money once, others larger amounts, sometimes spread over a long period, with investments contributing to the income of St George’s.

The annual subscription model provided a means for people to support the hospital, and regular appeals for local subscribers were staged. Those donating above a certain threshold were named governors, allowing them to recommend specific in-patients to the hospital. An endowment of £1,000 in 1895, for instance, provided a bed, and entitled the donor to have an inscribed plate placed over the donated bed. Legacies, as a report in 1895 notes, ‘enabled the Governors to meet all the expenses of the year … without any expenditure of capital’. Various funds provided funds for specified purposes, such as the Samaritan Fund (formerly known as the Convalescent Fund) for instance provided funds for those discharged from the hospital but unable to immediately resume work, or assisted in purchasing clothing, equipment or travel home for convalescing patients.

Jigsaw puzzle sold to raise funds for St George’s Hospital including the slogan ‘We need a million, we have a million needs’,c.1930s; Subscription receipt of Andrew Millar, 1761; Bed-shaped moneybox for collecting donations, c.1930s. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

The project aims to record the names of those listed as donors and subscribers, and add them to the Archives’ online catalogue, where they are searchable. The catalogue currently contains 532 names, and more are added regularly as we continue our research. The lists are digitised and, with the aid of OCR (optical character recognition), the names transferred to spreadsheets and standardised, enabling the results of the research to eventually be imported to the catalogue.

Although for many we only have a name (a Miss Jones or a Mr Smith are impossible to trace any further), many of the donors were very wealthy and well-known at the time, often from aristocratic backgrounds, and we can find out a lot about their backgrounds. An additional layer of difficulty in identifying names is that those with titles are usually listed only by the titles – Lord Brassey, Marquis of Aylesbury, Dowager Marchioness of Lansdowne and so on: this can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish a son from a father for instance. While men are often referred to by their first name or at least initials, women are frequently not afforded those, making a Miss Lambert or a Mrs Smith very difficult to trace.

List of subscribers in 1740; Annual Report of St George’s Hospital and of Atkinson Morley’s Convalescent Hospital, including lists of subscribers and legacies, 1895; St George’s Archives online catalogue showing subscribers, 2023. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

Slavery and colonialism

The lists in the archives record donations from 1733 up to the turn of the 20th century and beyond. In some cases, the wealth of the donors was based on proceeds from slavery, either directly or through family connections. There were also many connected with or employed by or within the empire, including in companies such as East India Company , South Sea Company, Royal Niger Company and Mississippi Company, companies that were involved in or, as in the case of South Sea Company, were explicitly founded as slave trading companies.

Slavery was formally abolished in the British Empire in 1807, with the Slave Trade Act (An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade) making slave trade (but not slavery) illegal. In practice, however, many continued to profit from slavery even after 1833, when slavery itself was made illegal in British colonies. The very beginnings of St George’s were tied to these companies: in 1734, the year after the hospital was first established, the governors invested the capital accumulated thus far from subscriptions and donations in East India Company; any further surplus money was to be invested in either South Sea Company or East India Company bonds.

The catalogue shows those donors or subscribers who have been found to have direct links to slavery, based on the information recorded in the UCL Legacies of British Slavery database, which is based on the records of the Slave Compensation Commission, established to compensate slave owners for freed enslaved people. The British government borrowed £20 million for these compensations, amounting to 40% of the Treasury’s annual income, a debt that was not paid off until 2015. For many later donors, their family wealth was derived from slavery, and many continued to profit from companies that were or had been directly connected with slavery.

Subscribers and donors

Portrait of Bathshua Beckford. Source: Bonhams: John Vanderbank (London 1694-1739) Portrait of Bathshua Beckford, in a Chippendale style carved and gilt frame; Bathshua Beckford in later life. Source: ‘Bathshua Beckford (née Herring), Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery; Engraving of a status of William Beckford, Lord Mayor of London, c.1771. ‘A late Lord Mayor of London From the Marble Statue of Mr. Moore, lately exhibited in Pall Mall’, unattributed etching in the collection of the Beinecke Library, Yale. [The statue of Beckford was erected by the Common Councilmen of London, to thank him for admonishing King George III on 23 May 1770].

Bathshua Beckford (1673-1750) was born in Jamaica, the daughter of Colonel Julines Herring, a prominent plantation and slaveowner. She went on to marry Peter Beckford Junior, son of the lieutenant-governor of Jamaica, and a slaveowner. Bathshua and Peter had 13 children; one of them, William Beckford, became Lord Mayor of London, as well as one of the wealthiest sugar plantation owners in Jamaica, with approximately 3,000 enslaved people. Three of their sons became Members of Parliament, and their grandson Thomas Howard eventually became the governor of Jamaica.

Bathshua moved to England following her husband’s death in 1735. The Legacies of British Slave-ownership database (UCL) shows the details of his will: on his death, he owned nine sugar plantations as well as being the partial owner of seven others, and the owner of property both in Jamaica and in England. He was the sole owner of 1,737 enslaved people, and half-owner of 577 others. Bathshua herself died in 1750. Her will granted her ‘Negro servant Susan and her son their respective freedom’, and for Susan to be paid £8 ‘for life’. To St George’s she left £100, the equivalent of about £15,000-20,000 – or the worth of 21 cows, or a 1,000 days’ worth of skilled tradesman’s time.

Edmund Antrobus (1792-1870) was a ‘life’ subscriber to St George’s in 1845, meaning he donated more than £50. His son Hugh Lindsay Antrobus (1823-1899) was likewise a subscriber in 1858. They were both bankers at Coutts (now Coutts & Co., private bank and wealth manager), and the Antrobus estate in Wiltshire included the site of Stonehenge. Edmund Antrobus was compensated for his ownership of hundreds of enslaved people in Guyana and Jamaica by the British Government under the Slave Compensation Act 1837. Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), collector and philanthropist, and inheritor of much of the banking fortune of the Coutts family, was also a subscriber to St George’s in 1837.

Sir Edmund Antrobus, 2nd Bt; Gibbs Crawford Antrobus (as children) by George Clint, after Sir Thomas Lawrence mezzotint, 1802. NPG D7077 © National Portrait Gallery, London; ; and details from Legacies of British Slave-Ownership for compensation for enslaved people.

Frederick Ellis’ (1830-1899) donated £5.5 in 1883. His family wealth was derived from slavery, and the ownership of sugar plantations in Jamaica. Although the family had been forced to ‘emancipate’ the enslaved people working on the plantations in 1832, many had no option but to continue working, albeit on very low wages, which were even further reduced in an attempt by Ellis’ father to improve the profits. Ellis himself assisted in overseeing the plantations later, including installing new machinery to boost production, though unsuccessfully. In 1893, his divorce was the ‘cause celebre of the year’, with accusations of ‘undue intimacy’ outside the marriage, cruelty and physical abuse, threats and accusations of ‘filthy and hoggish habits’.

Roger Palmer (1832-1910) was a ‘life’ governor in 1870, donating more than £50 to St George’s. He was a senior officer in the British Army, and fought in the Crimean War in the 1850s. He was also a landowner and a Conservative MP for Mayo in Ireland. During the Irish Famine in 1848, it was reported that his family’s

‘crowbar invincibles’, pulled down several houses, and drove forth the unfortunate inmates to sleep in the adjoining fields. On Thursday we witnessed the wretched creatures endeavouring to root out the timber of the houses, with the intention of constructing some sort of sheds to screen their children from the heavy rain falling at the time. The pitiless pelting storm has continued ever since, and if they have survived its severity, they must be more than human beings’

Although Palmer’s Wikipedia entry refers to the evictions as having occurred under Palmer himself, he was only 16 at the time the article was written, so the reference is more likely to be to his father.

Margaret Jackson, alpinist, c.1880s. Source: Wikimedia Commons; Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, studio of Jean Baptiste van Loo, 1740 – NPG 70 © National Portrait Gallery, London; Jacques Blumenthal, Imprimerie Lemercier, Paris (publisher). Unknown artist. © Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The project aims to not only uncover links to slavery, but to get a more comprehensive view of the origins of St George’s and the funders who contributed to it. The list of the donors forms a colourful picture of the society, with many well-known names among those who gave money to support St George’s.

Many of the donors were prominent politicians, for instance, such as Leopold Agar-Ellis, a Liberal politician, Percy Wyndham, a Conservative politician and a spiritualist, and Thomas de Grey, Conservative politician and entomologist who donated his butterfly collection to the Natural History Museum. Robert Walpole(1676-1745), who was a Whig politician and is regarded as the de facto first British prime minister, was an early supporter; he also owned shares in the South Sea Company. Arianna Koffler-Sluijter examined the life of Frederick James Halliday (1806-1901), Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal through East India Company, in an earlier blogpost.

Others were merchants, bankers, aristocrats and cultural dignitaries. John Bligh was an amateur cricketer and Jacques Blumenthal was a composer and pianist to Queen Victoria. Charles Booth was an industrialist, social reformer and philanthropist, whose poverty maps starkly illustrated the levels of poverty in 19th century London. Edward Guinness, a philanthropist and the richest man in Ireland due to his family’s brewing business, was a subscriber in 1884. Halford Halford-Adcock was a prison chaplain. Eleanor Louisa Hawkes was a socialite known for her lavish parties, while Emily Danvers Smith was married to William Henry Smith, whose chain of newsagents W.H. Smith still continues strong. Helen Farquhar was one of the founders of the British Numismatic Society, with a particular interest in coins believed to ward off and cure disease. Margaret Jackson, a subscriber in 1880, was a mountain climber, described as ‘one of the greatest women climbers of her time’.

Charles Booth’s poverty maps showing the area around St George’s at Hyde Park Corner in the late 19th century © 2016 London School of Economics and Political Science; Harvey Nichols department store; Screenshot of Lloyds’ website (The transatlantic slave trade (, 2023.

Donations were also made by companies, not only individuals. These include the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company, the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, the Natural History Museum, Army and Navy Club, Harvey Nichols & Co and Lloyds’ Bank (who have apologised for their role in the slave trade).

Anne Crayle, painting by unknown artist; ‘Miss Ann Crayle, benefactress of St George’s Hospital’, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London; Will of Anne Crayle, Spinster of Saint George Hanover Square, Middlesex, PROB 11/945/422, 21 Feb 1769, The National Archives.

Anne Crayle (?-1768) left £1,000 to St George’s in her will, stating that the money was used ‘for the use and benefit of such persons who shall be admitted as patients therein’ and to build wards and other accommodation for patients, in particular the ‘incurable sick’. She lived in the parish of St George’s Hanover Square, where St George’s Hospital was located at the time at Hyde Park Corner.

SGUL Archives holds a painting of Crayle, in which she is depicted as a young woman holding a yellow rose in her hands. There is a note in the archives stating that the portrait had been donated by her cousin’s son, Sir Richard Heron, and the hospital board is recorded to have placed it in a ‘new neat gilt frame’ in 1814 (the note adds that the portrait is said to have been cut in half to remove Anne’s sister from the picture).

The money left to St George’s was invested in ‘various stocks’, and in 1812 in ‘Navy five per cents’, and South Sea annuities, yielding an income of £53,520 that year for St George’s – worth millions of pounds today. St George’s was therefore still profiting from slavery, through the investment in South Sea stock, several years after slavery had been made illegal. Anne’s own wealth was also invested in the South Sea Company.

She died unmarried in 1768, leaving most of her possessions to her nephew (who changed his name from Crayle Bellamy to Crayle Crayle), including a country estate in Gloucestershire and her jewellery: the last-mentioned included a ‘brilliant necklace of 38 collets’ and ‘the picture of the late king of frame set with 18 diamonds’. She had stipulated that on the death of her nephew, the remaining estate should be transferred to St George’s.

Anne was clearly very wealthy, and her mother Sarah also directed money in her will towards benefiting the poor people of Acton. Records held in the archives shed more light on the family background: many of the Crayle family appear to have been watchmakers and goldsmiths, but the family also had other sources of wealth. In her will Anne also bequeathed a considerable sum to the sons of her cousin Robert Heron: Reverend Robert Heron of Grantham in Leicester, Sir Richard Heron and Thomas Heron of Chilham Castle in Kent, whose son Robert was compensated by the government for his shared ownership of 1,004 enslaved people in Grenada.

Want to learn more about the project and our collections? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch or via Twitter (@CollectionsSGUL) or Instagram (@CollectionsSGUL).

Upcoming Training Sessions in 2023

In 2023 we continue to offer a variety of library skills training sessions for you! We have a range of sessions suitable for your level of expertise or year of study – whether you are a student, academic, or NHS staff.

Below you can find out more about the different training sessions we offer and dates for these sessions. To book, please visit LibCal and register for the session you would like to attend. These sessions are either held in-person or online, via Microsoft Teams.

Please remember, we also continue to run the On-call Librarian service in the Library, Monday to Friday 10am-2pm. We can help you with getting started with finding information for your assignment, doing in-depth literature searching projects and referencing enquiries.

Visit our website to find out more or email

Training sessions on offer to SGUL students and staff

Introduction to Referencing/RefWorks

Thursday 12th January 12:00-1:30pm Online

Friday 10th February 12:00-1:30pm In-Person

Thursday 9th March 12:00-1:30pm Online

In this session we will introduce you to the St George’s standard of Harvard referencing, based on Cite Them Right. We will also introduce you to the reference management software RefWorks. We will show you how to set up an account, add references, manage them and how to use RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM), a Microsoft Word Add-in. The sessions are suitable for St George’s students and staff.

Literature searching for your dissertation, review or research project

Monday 23rd January 12:00-1:30pm In-Person

Tuesday 21st February 12:00-1:30pm Online

Wednesday 22nd March 12:00-1:30pm In-Person

We know databases like Medline (aka PubMed) and CINAHL can be intimidating, but with a little help and guidance we are sure you will get to grips with them in no time. If you have a longer research project, like a dissertation, or you just want to impress in your assignments, this session is for you. You will learn how to effectively run a literature search in a database relevant to your subject. The sessions are suitable for St George’s students and staff.

Training sessions on offer to NHS staff

Finding the evidence

Tuesday 17th January 12:30-2:00pm Online

Finding top-quality evidence is a priority for health care practitioners. This session will introduce the high-quality resources available to you, as well as provide training in how to use them effectively to support evidence-based clinical practice or decision-making.

Introduction to critical appraisal

Wednesday 15th March 3:00-4:30pm Online

Skills to appraise and evaluate research literature are key to being able to judge whether it is trustworthy, relevant and of value and if and how we might apply research findings in practice. Developing these skills can seem daunting but during this course we will attempt to demystify this process and introduce the concepts of critical appraisal.

Training sessions on offer to NHS and SGUL staff or Postgraduate students

Systematic reviews: finding and managing the evidence

Wednesday 25th January 1:00-3:00pm In-Person

Tuesday 28th February 11:00-1:00pm Online

Wednesday 29th March 3:00-5:00pm In-Person

This course will focus on in-depth literature searching for systematic reviewers and how to manage your results. It will provide you with an overview of the systematic review process, the know-how of creating effective search strategies, systematic searching of the literature, managing your results and documenting the search process.

Visit to sign up to any of these sessions.

World Digital Preservation Day 2022

World Digital Preservation Day, organised by Digital Preservation Coalition, is an international event to highlight the importance of digital preservation. This blogpost has been written by St George’s Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi, Research Data Support Manager Michelle Harricharan, and Records Manager Kirsten Hylan. You can engage with the day and find out more about our work on the Museum and Archives Twitter account using the hashtags #WDPD2022 and #SGULWDPD2022. If you are interested in learning more about digital preservation at St George’s, or would like to get involved, please contact

World Digital Preservation Day 2022: Data for All, for Good, Forever

‘Data for All, For Good, Forever’ is the theme of this year’s World Digital Preservation Day, demonstrating how digital preservation allows ‘digits to flourish’. What an apt theme for a university that has been transforming health and medical care since 1733! Whether it is developing the earlier practices of variolation into vaccination (introduced by Edward Jenner in 1798) that eventually eradicated smallpox or transforming health practice though our pioneering work in infection and immunity, population health and molecular and clinical research, for St George’s data has always been for good, for all and, with proper care, forever. This post will consider how by preserving records and data regardless of format that are held in the archives and currently being developed by our staff, we are not only ensuring we maintain our history, but that St George’s continues to contribute to ground-breaking medical research by allowing digits to flourish.

image of cartoon CDs, floppy disks, and tape recordings holding a banner that says happy world digital preservation day! The cartoon CDs are wearing colourful crowns and are holding balloons

Postmortem Examinations and Case Books

St George’s, University of London (SGUL), is a specialist health and medical sciences university in South-West London. The Archivist, Research Data Support Manager, and Records Manager work together to advocate for digital preservation, winning funds for a digital preservation system, and identifying areas that hold records that require a long-term storage solution. As a medical school we have created many unique datasets that contribute to scientific knowledge and the teaching of medicine.

The Postmortem Examinations and Case Books were created by St George’s, University of London and St George’s Hospital between 1841 – 1946. The records contain case notes including medical histories and pathological findings, and detail social and cultural changes, medical advances, and historical events, including epidemics and the development of anaesthesia and antiseptics. The postmortem books were an integral teaching tool for students of surgery and anatomy at St George’s. Through a project funded by Wellcome, the casebooks were conserved, digitised and catalogued in 2018 – 2021. They now have a life beyond teaching; they are a genealogical, sociological, and historical resource freely accessible online, enabling researchers to broaden their and our knowledge of diseases and treatments that act as building blocks for current and future researchers’ work.

Image of an old book in an archive. Title of book is Post Mortem and Case Book 1846. The book is worn. Next to the book is a screenshot of the archive catalogue.
St George’s Post Mortem and Case Book 1846, and a catalogue entry for the case of Thomas Roles, PM/1880/236 displayed on the SGUL Archives catalogue.

The Cambridge Cohort of Open Spina Bifida

Our research data repository holds several valuable research datasets. One such dataset is The Cambridge Cohort of Open Spina Bifida which comprises of 9 reviews of 117 individuals born between 1963 – 1971 with open spina bifida. Spina bifida occurs when a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine (NHS, 2020). Most babies born with spina bifida can have surgery to close the opening in the spine, however, their nervous system will have already been damaged which can lead to a range of health problems. Some may also have learning disabilities.

The Cambridge Cohort of Open Spina Bifida is a unique spina bifida data resource that provides detailed data on the health and quality of life of individuals born with spina bifida. The resource is rare in that it includes a detailed neurological examination at birth, and follows up on participants throughout their lives, with 99% follow-up to the mean age of 50 years. The earlier reviews were conducted at home and school at the mean ages of 4 and 9 years and included clinical examination. Later reviews were based mainly on questionnaires (completed by patients and/or carers) and clinical records. The Office for National Statistics provided information on deaths to August 2017.

The data provide a full, comprehensive picture of the lives of people who received surgery for open spina bifida within 24 hours of birth until either they died (which a third did before the age of 5) or the end of the study in 2017. With a 99% follow-up, it represents a remarkable achievement in research and contribution to an area where not much had previously been known. For each of the participants, and their carers, participation in the research was a means of sharing their experience for good, for all those living with spina bifida – present and future, with the hope of improving understanding and treatment of their disease.

For the researchers, the study was an ongoing endeavour of love, started by a clinician, researcher and mother who passed the work on to her daughter on her retirement. Her daughter painstakingly continued her mother’s work, treasuring the study and the research as much as her mother before her. The dataset was passed to St George’s to share and preserve for the future – for all, for good, forever.

screenshot of catalogue record of the cambridge cohort of open spina bidida
Oakeshott, P., Reid, F. (2021) The Cambridge cohort of open spina bifida. Figshare. DOI 10.24376/rd.sgul.14438780. Available at

A podcast with Prof Pippa Oakeshott, where she discusses her 2019 paper based on this data ‘Walking and living independently with spina bifida: a 50‐year prospective cohort study’, can be viewed on the Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology YouTube account.

Exploration of Disease Past and Present

What do these two resources, one containing information dating back to 1841, the other published in 2021, have in common? Both are maintained in a digital format, both add to our knowledge of a specific subject, and both have purposes that will evolve over time.

However, the everchanging technical landscape means that digital records essential for medical research are at risk. The importance of our digital records means there is a need for digital preservation to ensure these records remain accessible in order to protect our knowledge and investment, and ensure that future generations of researchers have the opportunity to access the knowledge contained within.

The historical records also provide a link between the past and present, and show the medical advances made over time. In 1865, a seven-month-old baby called Harriet (or Elizabeth) Garton was admitted to St George’s Hospital with a congenital meningocele, a type of spina bifida in which a sac of fluid protrudes through a gap in the spine. The only treatment available at the time was injection with iodine; it was not until 1895 that the first successful surgical operation was described. Although the iodine initially appeared to decrease the size of the tumour, little Harriet developed bronchiolitis and died five days after her third admission to the hospital: the doctor treating her blamed the disease on the ‘inclement’ weather when the child’s mother brought her to the hospital. Although the treatment was ultimately unsuccessful, the trial was seen as significant enough to discuss at length in an article published in 1866.

Image of an old book with illegible handwriting and a drawn diagram
Illustration of the case, published in St George’s Hospital Reports, Vol 1 (1866) by Timothy Holmes, SGHMS/6/1/1; and the digitised post mortem case notes of Harriet Garton, infant, 10 Apr 1865, PM/1865/107.

Capturing and preserving our digital data allows us to place formal research datasets like the Cambridge Cohort of Open Spina Bifida alongside our understanding and treatment of the disease in 1865. It allows us to compare perceptions and innovative treatments over time. In 1865 surgery for spina bifida was not possible; now, it is part of standard care, with some surgeries even happening while babies are still in the womb. Our post-mortem examinations and casebooks include a number of cases of spina bifida and meningocele in infants aged between 3 days and 1 year, demonstrating how quickly babies’ health deteriorated without surgery in the past. Opportunities for future research includes exploring the genetic basis of neural tube defects like spina bifida and the use of stem cell technology as potential therapies.

Data for All, for Good, Forever

By actively managing our records and data and applying preservation tools and activities we can maintain the record and data’s ongoing viability. Key to achieving our goals is St George’s information management professionals including the Archivist, Research Data Support Manager, and Records Manager advocating for, and working with the owners of records and data to identify and actively manage their outputs.

The steps we take now to protect our digital records will ensure their longevity and the ability for researchers of the future to continue to access the knowledge held within. St George’s, University of London’s mission is to pursue excellence in academic medicine, healthcare and science, informed by a global outlook by creating and sharing knowledge. By identifying records for digital preservation, we ensure their availability for good, forever, and that the data contained within is available to all.

International Open Access Week 2022: Open for Climate Justice

An official International Open Access Week graphic. On the left are four images of pollution, with the open access padlock symbol superimposed over them: top left, a beach covered in rubbish, with the padlock showing a clean beach; bottom left, smoke billowing from a factory chimney, with the padlock showing a protest sign reading 'Climate Justice Now!'; top right, a city obscured by smog, with the padlock showing the same city but with clear air; bottom right, a body of water filled with rubbish, the padlock show a turtle swimming in clear water. On the right of the image text reads: 'International Open Access Week, Open for Climate Justice, October 24-30, 2022, #OpenForClimateJustice

This week is International Open Access week, an annual event about raising awareness and taking action on open access. This year’s theme is “Open for Climate Justice”, considering how open access and open research can help in tackling the climate crisis.

Sharing knowledge is a human right, and tackling the climate crisis requires the rapid exchange of knowledge across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries.

What is climate justice, and where does open access fit in?

As Earth Overshoot Day gets earlier each year, it’s clear that the climate crisis is a global emergency which needs global action to tackle it. Open access can help ensure that work on climate change isn’t locked away behind paywalls where it can only be accessed by people working at institutions that can afford expensive journal subscriptions.

The term “climate justice” acknowledges that the effects of climate change are not being felt equally and that the impact is hitting marginalised populations harder – exactly the people who are also less likely to be able to access academic work and research on climate change. Opening up access to this work can be beneficial both directly and indirectly, because as well as making the work itself more accessible, it can enable people working on these issues to find others working in the same field, as well as raising the profile of their own research, helping to create opportunities for global collaboration.

What does open access look like in our corner of the world?

Here at SGUL we enable open access through our repository, SORA, where SGUL academic staff with a profile in our CRIS can have their full text manuscripts made available for articles that would otherwise only be available with a subscription to the published journal article (as well as those that are published open access).

We also maintain a Research Data Repository that can host a wide variety of outputs as well as data, making them freely available where possible whilst also allowing for access controls where appropriate (eg for sensitive medical data).

As well as these, we also have a number of Read and Publish deals with various publishers to allow SGUL corresponding authors to publish open access in some or all of their journals at either a reduced cost or at no direct cost. New deals for this year include those with Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer, which join existing deals from publishers such as OUP and Wiley. Full details on our deals, including eligibility requirements and lists of included journals, are on our webpages.

What about the rest of the global community?

There are however questions round the equitability of these Read and Publish deals and whether they are shifting the inaccessibility burden from readers to researchers: instead of readers being unable to access published research due to the cost barrier, are marginalised researchers being shut out of the publishing process due to the cost of open access fees? Are these deals just concentrating all the money for open access on the same publishers that were already making the most money from subscriptions?

The open access landscape is shifting rapidly as questions around fairness and access lead to new publication models, which lead to new questions and new discussions on how to move towards a world where everyone is able to participate in the academic community without barriers due to cost.

What might help?

Image by 🆓 Use at your Ease 👌🏼 from Pixabay

Initiatives such as PLOS Community Action Publishing aims to ‘make selective publishing more equitable’ and has capped margins so the more institutions who join, the lower costs become. Not for profit journal publishing as undertaken by the Microbiology Society, uses income generated to reinvest in their community. Both these publishers’ journals are covered by SGUL publishing agreements.

Many charitable funders and institutions are increasingly advocating that authors include a rights retention statement in their manuscripts on submission to subscription journals, to ensure the accepted manuscript can be made openly available even if the published version is not.

As well as traditional journal publishing, other OA publishing models such as preprinting may not require OA fees at all – for instance there are no open access fees for publishing on medRxiv or bioRxiv. ASAPBio, a not for profit scientist community, has produced FAQs on public preprint feedback, including How can preprint review contribute to equity?.

Diamond open access publishing (in which journals and platforms do not charge fees to either authors or readers) is being advanced as another initiative, as this recent conference demonstrates.

Find out more

Want to join the conversation but don’t know your AAM from your RRS? Curious about Creative Commons licences? Take a look at our new Open Access Glossary – and drop us a line if you run across something we don’t have a definition for yet!

Any questions? Get in touch with us:

  • (for questions about the CRIS and making your research publications available via SORA)
  • (for questions about publishing open access)
  • (for questions about research data and other types of research output)

We look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Carly Lightfoot, Library Research Services Manager

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

Welcome to St George’s Library 2022

Welcome to St George’s to all our new students and welcome back to everyone who is returning to their studies with us. After the flurry of Freshers Week and the first weeks of classes, now is a good time to start familiarising yourself with the library’s resources and the services we offer.

Our ‘Library at a glance‘ page and our ‘Library essentials‘ guide offer brief overviews of key library services, while the library induction module in Canvas provides a more interactive means of discovering the essentials.

Library help guides

Laptop screen displaying libguides homepage

We have created a range of guides, called Libguides, to help you find out more and get to grips with your subject, library or research related skills. You can find all of them on the Libguides homepage.

Each guide includes information on which resources we recommend for your subject, including revision and e-learning resources, and databases, if you are doing complex literature searches. Subject guides also include information on how to reference correctly and who to contact to get further help. A little tip: it’s generally a good idea to email for help with finding information or referencing.

We also have a range of skills guides, ranging from the basic guide on printing, to more in-depth guides on literature searching, referencing (which includes information on the indispensable Cite Them Right), and on how to use Refworks to manage your references.

E-learning tutorials

On Canvas you can find a range of self-directed library research-based tutorials that you can take at your own pace when you are ready. They each include some videos, explanations and short quizzes so you can test your knowledge as you go along.

Have you ever wondered how to Google like a librarian? Or how to select the best-quality information for your assignments? Give our Finding and Evaluating Information tutorial a go.

If you need to use Harvard referencing in your assignments, you will find our Referencing Essentials tutorial helpful. It covers the basics of referencing, explains what in-text citations and references consist of and guides you through the reference layout of the most commonly used resources.

Once you have completed the tutorial, why don’t you take our referencing quiz to see how well you can apply Harvard referencing? A little tip: you might find our Cite Them Right video helpful to answer the questions.

Liaison Librarians

Librarian and student working together

If you have any questions about finding, managing or referencing information, there is an expert ‘on-call’ librarian available every weekday between 10am-2pm you can talk to in person. All you need to do is let us know at the library helpdesk and we’ll take it from there.

Every subject at St George’s has a specialist librarians, so you are sure to get the support you need for your studies. You can find out who your librarians are on your subject’s libguide.

You can also email us at if you’d like any help with research, systematic literature searches, finding information in Hunter, referencing or RefWorks. For more in-depth enquiries we can make an appointment with you, either online or in person, depending on availability.

Reading for pleasure collection

Regular breaks from studying and revision are important, which is where our collection of fiction, poetry and popular non-fiction comes in. Not all our books are medical and healthcare-related textbooks. We have a range of books you might expect to find in a public library!

These books are grouped along different themes, you can find all our collections here. There are collections on science bestsellersBlack Lives Matter and Black History Monthfiction by women and women in leadershiphealth and mental well-being and LGBTQ+ books for example.

The Library also supports the Big Read, an exciting shared reading project. We have all the shortlisted books from previous years, going back to the project’s origins at Kingston University, and of course all the winners, in the library available for you to borrow. You can find the Big Read books listed here.

Academic skills

Last but not least, you might be looking for help with academic skills, such as essay writing, revision skills or note taking. You can find information on these topics and many more on the Study+ page on Canvas.

You can also get one-to-one support by booking an appointment with the Academic Success Team. You need to book via the Study+ page on Canvas. Appointments can be in person or online.

We hope you find these resources will support you in your assignments, dissertations and learning. Don’t hesitate to email us at with your questions.

Black History Month @ St George’s Library

Image of African fabrics overlaid with the words Black History Month twenty twenty two at St George's Library
Image of African fabrics overlaid with the words Black History Month twenty twenty two at St George’s Library

Black History Month Badge-Making -Pop-Up Creation Station

Date: Wednesday 19 October

Time: 12pm-2pm

Location: Outside the Library (Hunter Wing, Level 1)

Come and celebrate Black History Month 2022 at our creative badge-making station. Create Black History Month badges using sample artwork or your own designs! Student ambassadors and staff will be there to guide you. No need to book, just turn up – all equipment and material will be supplied.

Black History Month Book Display

Come and browse and borrow from our collection of black-authored fiction and non-fiction titles- many of the titles highlighted in our display are listed in our new collections discovery service.

The Donors of St George’s: Frederick James Halliday (1806-1901)

The Archives and Special Collections at SGUL are part of the Race Equality Action and Engagement Group (REAEG), and are examining the historical legacies of slavery and colonialism at St George’s as part of the institution-wide equality and diversity initiatives. The on-going research into the historical subscribers, funders and donors of St George’s is part of the project to reveal these links. For more information about the hundreds of donors, see the Archives catalogue.

Front cover of Annual Report of St George's Hospital, which documented the subscribers and donors
Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London. 1895. ‘Annual report of St George’s Hospital, and of Atkinson Morley’s Convalescent Hospital, For the Benefit of Poor Patients from St George’s Hospital, For the year 1894, with A List of the Governors & Subscribers and Statement of Receipts and Expenditure’. link

Frederick James Halliday was one of these donors. This blog post has been written by Information Assistant Arianna Koffler-Sluijter.

Frederick James Halliday attended the East India College, a school designed to train administrators for the East India Company, before joining the Bengal civil service in 1824. He also attended Fort William College, an academy of ‘oriental studies’ which was aimed at training administrators in various languages in Calcutta. He worked his way up the civil service by starting as an assistant working for the Supreme Court in 1825, before becoming a secretary to the Board of Revenue by 1836 and then Home Secretary for the Government of India in 1849. He travelled back to England to provide information to Parliament between 1852 and 1853. After his return, in 1854, he was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal by the East India Company.

Portrait of Sir Halliday, picture taken from
Wikipedia (“Frederick James Halliday”) link

The East India Company was the vessel for British imperialism in India from the early 18th century to the mid-19th century. The company began by trading in spices from the East Indies from the 17th century. After defeating Portugal in India in 1612, who had the previous monopoly, the EIC traded in cotton, silk, indigo, saltpetre and spices from South India. It started trading and using slaves from the 1620s, and this lasted until the 1770s. The EIC started to control Bengal in 1757 and became the base for British expansion. The Regulating Act 1773 and William Pitt the Younger Act 1784 gave Parliament commercial and political control of India so from 1834 the EIC was the body that managed India as a British colony. After the major rebellion of 1857, rule of India was transferred to the Crown through the Company until it shut down in 1873. British rule lasted until India gained its independence in 1947.

Before Halliday’s appointment, Bengal had previously been overseen by a Governor-General but the post of Lieutenant-Governor was created by the Marquess of Dalhousie when the East India Company’s charter was renewed as it was noted that Bengal needed a different administrative approach. From 1833, the Governor-General of India was also the Governor-General of Bengal, and due to territorial acquisitions, the Governor-General was often away from the region, and thus this change in the structure of the role was hoped to improve the situation. Through his appointment, he resided in Belvedere House, which had formerly housed Warren Hastings, the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal) and the first Governor-General of Bengal. Belvedere is a 30-acre estate where the National Library of India is now housed.

As Lieutenant-Governor, he was responsible for the building of numerous roads and the construction of the East Indian Railway, which enabled better communication for the East India Company. The Railway route was planned to run from Calcutta to Rajmahal in 1849, which would later be extended to Delhi via Mirzapur and so the Railway Company acquired much land for this. British shareholders made immense profits from railways across India, whilst the works were paid for exclusively by Indian taxes. The railways were primarily used to move natural resources (coal, iron ore, cotton, etc.) so that they may be shipped back to Britain. The first passenger train ran from Bombay to Thane in 1853. The vast number of employees of the railways were European. Due to legislation in 1912, it was unviable for Indian trains to be manufactured or even designed, so between 1854 and 1947, India imported 14,700 trains from England, Canada, America and Germany. Due to this combination of factors, the railways, including the East Indian Railway company, did little to benefit Indian people and actively harmed their economy.

He also introduced the Calcutta Municipal Act, which included increased pay for the police, and increased supervision of the justice system. This was to help supress the disturbance of active resistance to British rule by creating a military police force as well as adding more officials to the justice system to help with its efficiency. The justice system of the British Raj was far from fair and equal, as, for example, thousands of murders of Indian people by English settlers went unpunished, with only three successful prosecutions. To a large extent, Bengal was not involved in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which saw a mass revolt and mutiny against British sovereignty in India, but Halliday provided advice to Lord Canning, the Governor-General of India, to reduce civil unrest. Alongside these administrative reforms, Halliday sought social change and enforced anti-sati legislation; sati being the ritual burning of a widow. He was also involved in the Widow Remarriage Act, and improving educational opportunities through the establishment of a director of public instruction and the University of Calcutta.

Halliday left the position of lieutenant-governor in 1859, and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1860. From 1868 to 1886, he was a member of the Council of India, a group of 15 members who advised the Secretary of State for India in London.

section of Annual Report of St George's that displays Sir Halliday's donation
Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London. 1895. ‘Annual report of St George’s Hospital, and of Atkinson Morley’s Convalescent Hospital, For the Benefit of Poor Patients from St George’s Hospital, For the year 1894, with A List of the Governors & Subscribers and Statement of Receipts and Expenditure’. link

Halliday donated £3 and 3 shillings to St George’s in 1882, which is roughly £300 in today’s currency. He died in 1901.