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The British Society for Rheumatology has welcomed new additions to the Heberden Library from BSR member and Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Dr Richard Hull FRCP. The comprehensive donation to our archive included papers from BSR’s first scientific meeting held on 5-6 April 1984. During that time, BSR member Dr Hull was completing his rheumatology higher training in Aberdeen, the Hammersmith, Taplow and Northwick Park hospitals. In 1989 Dr Hull went on to be appointed as Consultant Rheumatologist at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital. 


Lauren Bennie, Devolved Nations Liaison Officer, BSR said: “When we were gifted Dr Richard Hull’s programmes and booklets at our BSR office in Glasgow, including pamphlets from BSR’s early scientific meetings in the year I was born, I felt privileged to be able to review Dr Hull’s papers. I could really sense the significance of BSR’s early history. The pages made fascinating reading, particularly the simplicity of how the abstracts from the 1980s were presented.” 

This collection not only shines a light on medical aspects of rheumatology and associated diseases, the documents also highlight the socio-economic status of the time when delegates to the first annual meeting received hand typed booking forms and rate slips from the Executive Secretary Miss R. Broke Evans with London B&B prices recorded at £10.50/night for delegates.

Head of Publishing and Committee Manager for the Heberden Library Francesca Cockshull, BSR, said: “We were delighted to receive these perfectly preserved lists of members, annual reports and conference proceedings from Dr Hull. The timing of these very first publications is great, as we look to celebrate 35 years as an organisation in 2019. The items will be added to the Heberden Library archive listings and will be made available to peruse in our Heberden Meeting room in our London office.” 

BSR’s Heberden Library contains in excess of 1500 items including medico-historical books, journals and photographs. We regularly update the display cabinet in our ground floor waiting room area in the office, with a fascinating selection of books and accompanying notes, written by our dedicated Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian from the Royal College of Physicians, so please do take a look next time you visit. The aim is to continue the collection’s expansion to provide a history of rheumatology for future generations. Our members are invited at any time to discuss donating materials to the library and can do this by email to bsr@rheumatology.org.uk. Members can also access our online catalogue and make requests to view and access library materials.