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UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

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Library historical collections

The Library at Queen Square holds substantial collections of historical and rare books, reprints and specialist journals, some of which are not held elsewhere in the UK.

The Queen Square Archives 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 details of the archive please refer to the Queen Square Archives web site at: http://www.queensquare.org.uk/ The combination of the Library & Archive collections are a unique resource of international significance.

The Queen Square Library is funded jointly by the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital, and 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 the books and journals 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.


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Rare books and Queen Square reprints

The majority of the rare books and Queen Square reprints 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 very substantial collection of reprints. These are 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 (see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/explore).  Most items are available for viewing for reference by visitors and library members, on production of an ID and completion of a request form.  Access to unique or fragile items is at the discretion of the Librarian.
It is advisable to contact the Library in advance to arrange for access to particular items in the collections.  The reprints collections are only part catalogued, so please contact the Library before visiting.  For more information about any other handling, security, copying or photography restrictions please see our access pages

Over 400 of our 19th Century books have been digitised and made available online as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library digitisation project 

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Journals and other reprints

Also housed in the Library and in the onsite Library store is a substantial collection of classic and rare specialist journals. This ranges from classic English language titles such as complete sets of Brain, Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, Archives of Neurology and Annals of Neurology; to rare international Neurology and Neuroscience titles. Countries covered include Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Poland and Romania. 

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More information and access

Full details of all print journals holdings are available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/library/journals. Access is for reference only and no prior appointment is necessary, although it is advisable to contact the Library in advance for confirmation of the availability of items marked as being incomplete. Two hours notice is required for items marked as being held in the store; the last store collection time is 4.30 pm. 

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