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Manchester Medical Collection

Date range: 1727 to present.

The Manchester Medical Collection constitutes a remarkable, indeed unique, body of archive material relating to the history of medicine in the Manchester area.

The collection was formed by Ernest Bosdin Leech (1875–1950), a physician at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and an indefatigable historian of medicine. Leech intended that it should document every aspect of the medical history of the area, including the lives and writings of local medical practitioners, hospitals, medical education, medical societies and charities, and major subjects such as nursing, public health and disease in Manchester.

Leech donated the collection to the University of Manchester Library in 1934. He was assisted in developing the collection by the medical historian Edward Mansfield Brockbank (1866–1959). After the deaths of both men, the collection was curated by Brockbank’s son, William, and new material has continued to be added to the collection. Currently it contains some 30,000 documents.

The Publications Series, MMC/1, comprises nearly 10,000 articles, reports and papers of a medical nature, written by Manchester-related medics since the nineteenth century. Many of the pamphlets and offprints are rare and difficult to obtain. By drawing together this published material in a single location, the collection enables researchers to trace the works of individuals and also to relate these writings to the authors’ institutional connections, thus facilitating the study of the research programmes of hospitals and university medical departments.

The Biographical series, MMC/2, is also an invaluable resource for researchers. It comprises biographical data on over 5,500 individuals, dating from the seventeenth century to the present day. Information has been collected from medical directories, curricula vitae, Manchester Medical Society biographical forms, as well as from notes made by Bosdin Leech, mainly from published secondary sources. The series includes a number of photographs of individuals, as well as some personal papers donated to the collection by their creators or their descendants.

The Manchester Medical Collection also contains:

  • biographical files on medical practitioners in the wider North West region (MMC/3)
  • documents relating to the history of medical education in the Manchester area from the early nineteenth century onwards (MMC/5)
  • material concerning medical societies in Manchester (MMC/7)
  • documents from a variety of Manchester-based medical charities and welfare associations (MMC/8)
  • material relating to over sixty hospitals and associated institutions in Manchester (MMC/9)
  • numerous publications and documents relating to public health (MMC/12–14)

Finding aids

Catalogues available online via ELGAR:


Main Library

Using the reading room in the Main Library