Institute of Naval Medicine - Historic Collections Library

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Institute of Naval Medicine

About the library

The Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) is a Centre of Excellence bringing together scientists and medical professionals to improve the health of the UK Armed Forces.

The Historic Collections Library is held in INM’s Monckton House, which was built in the 1840s as the residence of a local brewer. The books it holds were the working collections of the Victorian naval surgeons and physicians at the Royal Naval Hospitals of Haslar (Gosport) and Stonehouse (Plymouth), with a few titles from other naval establishments. The collections now comprise one of the few specific resources for naval medical history.

As well as medical and surgical coverage, there is material on all areas of natural history, but especially medical botany, and on ethnology and voyages of travel and exploration, including Polar exploration. The bulk of the collection was accumulated between 1828 and 1878, although the earliest book dates to 1564 and there are many 17th- and 18th-century medical texts; a bequest from one naval surgeon accounts for a scatter of classical and early 19th-century European literature.

Both collections survived air-raid attacks on their separate homes in Stonehouse and Haslar during the Blitz, and signs of the resultant damage are still evident on some of the books. Naval surgeons and physicians such as Dr James Lind (“Father of Naval Medicine” and researcher on scurvy), Sir Gilbert Blane, Sir John Richardson and Dr Alexander Bryson are well-represented.

Also on display in the Historic Collections Library are surgical instruments, medical ceramics, pictures and other naval medical memorabilia. Some of these come from the older collections, while others have been more recently donated.

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availability on Library Hub Discover? No.

Can I obtain items via inter-library loan? No - this library does not participate in the inter-library lending scheme.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes, but only by prior arrangement. MOD security regulations apply. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance, to ensure that they can accommodate you and that the material you need will be available.


Browse all of the Institute of Naval Medicine Historic Collections Library records in Library Hub Discover here.