The Heberden Library

The Heberden Library is a collection of books that belong to the British Society for Rheumatology. Our online catalogue, including currently-catalogued books housed at Bride House and at the RCP, can be accessed by clicking the button below.



Our book collections


We own an important collection of medico-historical books on rheumatism, gout and other allied conditions. It is maintained for us by the Royal of College Physicians and contains over 1,500 items including books, pamphlets and journals. The collection was built up by the Heberden Society’s first honorary librarian, WSC Copeman, who devoted a considerable amount of time to the collection until his death in 1970.

The second honorary librarian, EGL Bywaters, continued to add to the collection, as have those who followed him in the post. Since 1966, recent books, reports, proceedings, and documents have been added to the collection with the aim of providing a history of rheumatology for future generations.

The Heberden Library is housed at the Royal College of Physicians, and contains all the books published before 1983. The books published from 1983 onwards, from the time of the formation of the British Society for Rheumatology, are housed at our offices in Bride House. The Bride House collection also has a range of caricatures drawn by Professor John Moll, these include drawings of prevalent individuals who were part of the Heberden Society in the 1970s.

The material from the Heberden Library may be consulted by appointment at the Royal College of Physicians and/ or our BSR offices. Most of the material is now catalogued online, and work continues to complete this catalogue.

In addition to the collections at the Royal College of Physicians and British Society for Rheumatology, additional boxes of archives are currently housed at the Wellcome Library.

To help ensure we have a wide range and up to date historical record of Rheumatology, we invite you to donate any relevant books to the Heberden Library. Please contact us at bsr@rheumatology.org.uk with the title and author of the book and we'll check our records.

Below we have extracts and pictures showing some of the Heberden library content from as early as 1537. 

Sample extracts:

For more information view The Heberden Collection Archive