SUNCAT welcomes the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

SUNCAT would like to welcome a new Contributing Library, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which has a well-resourced medical and surgical library, with all the latest in texts, journals and electronic resources and a wealth of fascinating historical stock dating from the 15th century to the present.

We invited Aaron Fleming, Library and Archive Assistant at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, to write a few words about the library and its collections.


The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is the oldest and largest of the UK surgical Royal Colleges, and one of the largest of all the UK medical Royal Colleges. First incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, the College has been at the vanguard of surgical innovation and developments for over 500 years.

The Lister Fellows Room in the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

The Lister Fellows Room, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. (© Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)

The Library supports the research and information needs of the College’s membership, a global network of over 24,000 surgeons in over 100 countries. Housed in the renowned Playfair Building since 1832, it maintains a vast and important surgical, medical and historical collection, ranging from rare books and journals, to the Minute Books of the College which provide a continuous record of the institution from 1581. Among the rare books are a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle dated 1493, two Books of Hours dated 1450 and 1490, and a first edition of William Harvey’s Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis from 1628.

The Library holds over 600 journals. In addition to 50 current print subscriptions, there are complete runs of medical journals going back as far as the eighteenth century. These constitute a vital snapshot of the development of the surgical and medical professions and are bound and preserved in our designated basement store. New roller storage was installed in 2015 and this has ensured that the stock is preserved in a suitable environment.

It is hoped that the Library’s inclusion on SUNCAT will widen access to the collection for academics and researchers. For more information about the library, please visit or email


SUNCAT would like to thank Aaron for introducing the library and its journal collection. If you would like to write a post on your SUNCAT Contributing Library and its serials collections or would like to join SUNCAT please contact us at

Comments are closed.