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Stories from the Square

 It’s been almost a year since we were at the Queen Square Library in the archives, learning more about the history of The National Hospital. We thought it was time to pay them a visit again – but this time, we did it online…

The Queen Square Library contains an important collection of specialist neurology, neurosurgery and neuroscience books and journals, and a Rare Book Collection which extends to some 3000 volumes from 1695 onwards.

The library also houses the Queen Square Archive which comprise the archives belonging to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and those of UCL Institute of Neurology (IoN). Every month, the Librarian Sarah Lawson selects a piece for Item of the Month on their website.

This month features a lecture on disseminated sclerosis which was delivered by William Richard Gowers at the National Hospital on the 13th June 1895 – 118 years ago.

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Sarah Lawson told us why she chose this particular piece: “I recently received an enquiry about translating one of Gowers’ publications, Epilepsy and other Chronic Convulsive Diseases into Russian. That publication dated from 1881 which prompted me to select the Gowers lecture as Item of the Month, demonstrating how much worldwide interest there continues to be in Gowers’ writings, almost hundred years after his death.” The piece bears corrections on the manuscript which fits with Sarah comments that Gowers lectures were always very polished and published fairly soon after delivery as they were so comprehensive.

Gowers produced over 350 publications between 1872 and 1910 as well as major textbooks such as Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System, which was the standard reference until early in the twentieth-century.

It’s fascinating to see these documents from the past, a reminder of The National’s legacy of groundbreaking research and education, which continues to the current day.

Images courtesy of the Queen Square Library, Archive and Museum.  Copyright National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery (UCLH)/UCL Institute of Neurology

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