The Bell Collection
Charles Bell (1774-1842) was born in Edinburgh. He was apprenticed to his surgeon brother John (1763 -1820) in 1792, working alongside him at his anatomy school in Edinburgh’s Surgeon Square. In 1799 Charles qualified as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and took over the formal teaching at the school. He moved to London in 1804 and in 1812 bought the Great Windmill Street Anatomy School. Some 3,000 specimens from the anatomy collection he amassed there was sold to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh for £3000 in 1825.
The most famous of all Surgeons’ Hall Museum conservators, Dr Robert Knox (1791-1862), was involved in almost every aspect of the museum’s development during its great expansion of the 1820s and early 1830s. He was, at the time, the most successful anatomist in Scotland if not Britain, but it was his involvement in one of Britain’s most infamous serial murder cases that led to him becoming the most fictionalised of all Scottish medical men.
The Greig Collection
David Middleton Greig (18641936), Conservator of the Museum from 1920 to 1936, was an international authority on bone disease and abnormalities of the skull. During his professional life as a surgeon, in and around his home city of Dundee, he formed his own pathology collection, documenting every case in detail and adding photographs, x-rays and drawings.
Surgeons' Hall Museums house a large collection of surgical and dental instruments. Some, such as the Sqires Inhaler shown here, hold a significant place in the history and development of safe surgical procedures.
In 1971 Scotland’s first radiological collection was begun at Surgeons’ Hall by Dr Bill Copland. A bequest from the estate of Mr Bruce M Dick covered the cost of adapting the old museum workshop and staff room into a dedicated space for the new X-ray collection with viewing equipment, donated by Kodak.