Royal College of Physicians

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Royal College of Physicians

About the library

The Royal College of Physicians of London (RCP) is the professional body for physicians, with over 35,000 members and fellows across the globe.

The RCP Library

The RCP Library provides a current collection of resources to support our fellows, members and students to meet their professional development and educational goals. We provide print and online resources to support our educational programmes which are focused on topics such as leadership, medical education, and teaching skills. Our eLibrary offers access to ejournals, ebooks and databases to support our members in their clinical specialties. We also offer document supply and literature searching services to our fellows and members.

Heritage Library

The Heritage Library reflects the changing nature of medicine and the RCP’s role throughout 500 years of history since its foundation in 1518. It contains over 50,000 printed items dating from 1471 to the present day. The collection encompasses books, journals (including complete runs of the BMJ and Lancet), tracts and pamphlets, a full record of RCP publications, and biographies of medical figures. There are more than 20,000 rare books published before 1900. The rare books collection covers a wide range of subjects, reflecting the broad interests of early modern physicians. Medical topics are well represented and stand alongside biological, chemical and physical sciences; engineering and mechanics; mathematics and astronomy; music, dance and literature; food, botany and nature; travel and geography, and more. The 20th and 21st century collections focus on the history of medicine. This includes histories of medicine, medical specialties and medical institutions, and biographies of medical people.

British Library inter-library loan codes

Library code


Policy code


For an explanation of these codes, and for more information on arranging inter-library loans, see the inter-library loans page on the British Library website.

Accessing materials

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

Can I obtain items via inter-library loan? Yes - subject to the library's local lending policy. See their website for details. You must request an inter-library loan via a library of which you are a member. Talk to your own library staff for advice on ordering an item.

Can I visit the library to view materials? The RCP library is accessible only by RCP fellows, members and students.The heritage library is open to public researchers - see the library's website for access details. If you wish to visit it is necessary 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 Royal College of Physicians records in Library Hub Discover here.