UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Archives and Rare books

The Queen Square Library holds substantial collections of historical and rare books and reprints, some of which are not held elsewhere in the UK. The combination of the Library and Archive collections are a unique resource of international significance.

The Queen Square Archives collection, which is housed in the Library and looked after by Library staff, contains virtually complete archival records of the National Hospital and the Maida Vale Hospital from 1859 to 1946, with some later material. For full details of the archive please refer to the Queen Square Archives website

The Queen Square Library collection is funded jointly by the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital, and the Library is the recognised specialist library for neurology within the University of London. There are records for the Library dating back to the early years of the Hospital and the basis of the Historical Collections are books previously held within the Hospital and the former Medical School at Maida Vale, and the private collections of members of staff at Queen Square. The Library receives over 25,000 visits per annum.  Many of these visitors came to use items held in the Historical Collection, and referrals are regularly received from both the British Library and the Library of the Wellcome Trust.

Rare books and Queen Square reprints

The majority of the rare books and reprints in the Queen Square collections once belonged to the staff of Queen Square or have been acquired by the Library and were at one time part of the working collections.

Archives & rare books pod

The historical pod in the Library houses approximately 3,000 rare and classic books dating from 1698 to the 1970’s. Many of these were the personal copies of key figures in the history of neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery, including Taylor, Horsley, Gowers, Ferrier, Head, Greenfield, Brain, Critchley, Holmes and Denny Brown. Classics include original works by Bastian, Batten, Bramwell, Broca, Brown-Sequard, Cajal,  Charcot, Clark,  Cushing, Bell, Freud, Pavlov, Dandy, De Egas, Dejerine,  Gowers, Duchenne, Ferrier, Gilles de la Tourette, Fulton, Laycock, Marie, Weir Mitchell, Kinnier Wilson, Sherrington  etc. Many are signed and annotated by the authors. Also held is a substantial collection of reprints authored by staff of Queen Square, and again, many are signed and annotated, including an important collection of annotated reprints, privately published papers and hand-written notes by John Hughlings Jackson (this collection includes at least 45 unpublished papers not held anywhere else in the world, and an original notebook).

More information and access

Full details of all of the books in this collection are available via the Library catalogue. Most items are available for viewing for reference only. Access to unique or fragile items is at the discretion of the Librarian. Over 400 of our 19th Century books have been digitised and made available online as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library digitisation project.

For access to the historical books and reprints, UCL Library Services members are advised to contact the Library in advance to ensure that particular items from the collections are available, in particular for reprints which are only part catalogued. All non-members must contact the Library in advance to make an appointment to consult these materials. For information about handling, security, copying or photography restrictions please see our access pages.