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Royal College of General Practitioners

Pickles, William Professional Papers


Reference code(s): GB 2134 B/PIC/A

Held at: Royal College of General Practitioners

Title: Pickles, William Professional Papers

Date(s): 1917-1985

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 6 boxes

Name of creator(s): William Pickles and his biographer John Pemberton


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Pickles (1885-1969) general practitioner and epidemiologist practised medicine in Aylsgarth in Yorkshire between 1912 and 1964. Material reflecting Pickles' career in the medical profession.

Pickles practiced as GP for over fifty years in Aysgarth, Yorkshire, until his retirement in 1964. Throughout this period he conducted extensive research into epidemiology, using the Aysgarth District and its inhabitants he worked tirelessly to investigate epidemiological trends in rural areas. He lectured throughout Britain and worlwide, in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He was appointed Cutter Lecturer, 1947-48 at Harvard University, America. Pickles was influential in the founding of the College of General Practitoners (later the Royal Collge of General Practitioners) and held the post of First President, 1953-1956.


Scope and content/abstract:

Material reflecting Pickles' career in the medical profession.

Role as General Practitioner: material relating to Pickles in his role as General Practitioner in Aysgarth, 1912-1964, including a pocket diary, 1940, a thermometer, material relating to 50th anniversary of Pickles as General Practitioner, 1962, and his retirement in 1964. (1940)- (1965)

Research Work: manuscripts of articles, lectures and speeches, both typescript and longhand, and accompanying support material, including slides and a poster advertising a lecture, relating to epidemiological research, particularly based around his book, 'Epidemiology in Country Practice' (1939) [see B PIC A 3-1] 1930-1963; epidemiological charts and drawings, including birthrate charts and plan of the Aysgarth District where Pickles carried out his research; reports, records and correspondence relating to various diseases 1917-1969; and additional articles on infectious disease by other authors, n.d. (1917-1969)

Published Work: annotated personal copy of 'Epidemiology in Country Practice' (1939) which includes reviews and correspondence, paperback copy of reprint of book (1984), and paperback Serbo-Croat version, published in Zagreb (1956), and book reviews, in response to the first edition, 1939, and the re-issue, 1949. (1939-1984)

College of General Practitioners President: material relating to Pickles role as President of the College of General Practitioners, 1953-56. (From 1957 the College was known as the Royal College of General Practitioners) Includes James Mackenzie lecture (1954), letters, photograph of 1st Scottish Council (1953-54), Addresses, such as speech made to the Canadian College of GPs (1954). Also includes letters and photographs about the unveiling of the Pickles memorial plaque in Aysgarth (1971). (1953-1985)

Other Professional Roles: contains reports, correspondence, and speeches, relating to Pickles role both as part-time Medical Officer of Health, 1935, and as witness to the Royal Commission on Population, 1944. Also included are a selection of dinner menus from formal occassions which Pickles attended. (1936-1963).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:

Access is at the discretion of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Requests for access should be made in writing to The Archivist, Royal College of General Practitioners, 14 Princes Gate, Hyde Park, London, SW7 1PU

Conditions governing reproduction:

Requests for reproduction should be made in writing to The Archivist, Royal College of General Practitioners, 14 Princes Gate, Hyde Park, London, SW7 1PU

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Database with descriptions down to file level accessible at the Royal College Of General Practitioners library.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


none expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Most of collection donated by Mrs Patience Clayton, daugther of Pickles, October 1969.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Created by Katherine Williams September 2002

Rules or conventions: National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997; ISAD(G), Second Edition, 2000.

Date(s) of descriptions: September 2002


Personal names

Corporate names