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Barber-Surgeons' Company: material collected by Sir D'Arcy Power (1855-1941)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.627-628
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Barber-Surgeons' Company: material collected by Sir D'Arcy Power (1855-1941)
Date(s): 1635-1914
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 volumes
Name of creator(s): Company of the Barber-Surgeons of London
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Company of the Barber-Surgeons of London was formed by the union of the Company of Barbers and the Fellowship of Surgeons in 1540. The barbers had carried out minor surgery such as bleeding and lancing of abscesses, while the more erudite surgeons attempted to evolve some principles in surgery, and were involved in the mutilating surgery of warfare. The Barber-Surgeons became responsible for instigating teaching programmes and the licensing of men to practice the art of surgery; they also appointed surgeons to the armed forces. A rift occurred in 1745. The surgeons broke away and formed the Company of Surgeons, which, in 1800, became the Royal College of Surgeons.


Scope and content/abstract:

Memoranda of the Barber-Surgeons. A collection of original, or contemporary and later copies, of documents, transcripts and printed papers. There is an original foliation in pencil for Vol. I, a new foliation has been added for Vol. II. In Vol. II (9), the title of the transcribed pamphlet is: 'News from the Dead, or a ... Narrative of an extraordinary Combat between Life and Death, exemplified in the Case of William Duell ... who was executed by Tyburn ... and who soon after return'd to Life at Barber-Surgeon's Hall where he had been brought too [sic] ... in order to be Anatomiz'd ...'. London: J. Roberts. 1740.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archives and manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973).

Archival Information

Archival history:

The history of this collection is given in the first of three autograph letters [Vol. I (2)] from Sidney Young [1843-1914], author of The Annals of the Barber-Surgeons of London, 1890, to Sir D'Arcy Power, dated 6 August, 1912. In it he says 'My late friend Robert Hovenden F.S.A. who was Master of the Barber's Company was an omnivorous Collector of Books and MSS., and after his death his Executors gave me a parcel of MS [sic] relating to the Barber Surgeons Co. which I have only just opened, and roughly looked through. These I sorted out into two packets one which I shall deposit at Barber's Hall where they will never be looked at or anything done with them, and the other I am sending to you... Please don't return them'. The 'List of Sea Surgeons', transcribed by Young, 'consists of the names of Sea Surgeons, with the respective dates of their Certificates of Appointment to the King's Ships named, and also the date on which the Journal of their practice concluded, which Journals were examined by the Court of the Barber-Surgeons, and thereupon a Certificate of Approval was issued for the Navy Office', as stated on the title-page to his transcript.

Each Volume has a MS. index by Sir D'Arcy Power, dated 1912 and 1914, and bears his Armorial book-plate, dated 1908, pasted down inside the upper cover.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Purchased at Sotheby's 9/6/1941, Lot 171 (part).

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library: MSS.3961-3963 and 7440 comprise material by Sir D'Arcy Power himself, namely writings on medical and family history and correspondence.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Aug 2008

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