UCL home page


Library home » Reading Medicine » Clinical Sciences Library


UCL Library Services


Magnifying glass image
Explore the Library’s books, journals and online resources. Find out more


Reading Medicine
Clinical Sciences Library
Ross, B. D. [Letter]
University College Hospital Magazine.
1960; 44: 72
Merrington, W. R.
University College Hospital and its Medical School: a history.
London : Heinemann, 1976. p 99
How to use the Library - I.
University College Hospital Magazine.
1950-51; 35: 45
Later developments
In 1948 the Medical School became independent of the Hospital and continued as a medical school of the University of London until it was re-united with UCL in 1980 as the Faculty of Clinical Sciences - together with the Faculty of Medical Sciences thus forming the UCL School of Medicine. From this time the library became known as the Clinical Sciences Library.

By 1960 the Library was described as "gloomy" and having a "railway waiting-room atmosphere" in a letter to the UCH magazine.

Merrington also commented that:
"Both the library and the museum, thought at the time to be suitably imposing, are vast caverns into which a succession of the best medical minds have tried unsuccessfully to fit two more floors... the library and the museum remain, like the façade, unassailed, very impressive and rather inefficient."
University College Hospital Medical School crest.
University College Hospital Medical School crest.
Photograph of the Medical School Building, which was later renamed the Rockefeller Building.
Photograph of the Medical School Building, which was later renamed the Rockefeller Building.
Alterations to the Medical School Library were made following a review in 1970 which recommended changes to lighting, desks and book storage; the continued use of the Library for large social functions was also debated and would be discontinued once these changes were made. Between 1978 and 1980 the collections were reorganized with older books going into the basement store; later the historical collections were relocated to Special Collections (manuscripts and pre-1850 materials) and to the Wickford Store.

In 1979 an archivist, Mr Simon Morrow, undertook a project to index the Medical School and Hospital archive records held in the Library which included committee minutes, departmental reports and case registers; these were also removed and now form part of the College Collection and Archives.

Following the reunification of the Medical School with UCL in 1980, the Library was extended to create a new issue desk and offices and joined UCL's computerised library management system. During the period until the Library moved, the current (1965.) bookstock, now expanding to include more copies of undergraduate texts, was also re-classified by the NLM (National Library of Medicine) scheme. This replaced the rather inflexible system of fixed physical locations on the shelves described in detail in the University College Hospital Magazine some 30 years before.

The Dental School, which had its origins in the Metropolitan School of Dental Science in the 1850s and moved into its last home in Mortimer Market in 1963, had become the University College and Middlesex School of Dentistry by the time it closed in 1991.

The Dental School's collections had already been incorporated into the Medical School Library in 1978. Opened up to dental staff and students as well as to the rest of UCL, use of the Library had increased greatly.

Detail from Dental School Prospectus 1950-51
Detail from Dental School Prospectus 1950-51
- View full sized image
The University College Hospital Medical School Library in the 1970s
The University College Hospital Medical School Library in the 1970s
With the merger of the University College and Royal Free Medical Schools in 1998 new teaching and learning facilities, including a new library, were created on the ground and basement floors of the refurbished former University College Hospital, the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research occupying the upper floors. With student numbers about to increase to an intake of at least 330 a year the accommodation in the Clinical Sciences Library was inadequate.
After more than 90 years, the Library closed on Friday 17 September 1999. The fabric of the room was restored and opened as a common room for the medical students, re-named the Thomas Lewis Room after the UCH cardiologist credited with pioneering use of the electrocardiogram (ECG).

Last modified 18 April 2007

University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999-