Wellcome uses cookies. Read our policy.

This guide highlights primary source material from the Archives and Manuscripts Collection, relating to the counties of South-west England. It includes information about local families, individuals and organisations.

Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset.

John Gostlin (1566-1626), Exeter physician, later Master of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge
Collection of medical notes. Early 17th century.
Reference: MS.315

Charles Morton (1627-1698), Puritan divine, later Vice-President of Harvard
Transcript of his paper on possible improvements in Cornwall, 1686.
Reference: MS.3637/5

Transcripts of his System of Physics made by Robert Darch (died 1737), non-conformist minister, Somerset, and Benjamin Mills, pupil at Taunton Academy, 1694-1709
Reference: MS.3636

Caleb Lowdham or Loudham (alive around 1665-1712), surgeon, Exeter
Recipes and a few case histories compiled by Caleb Lowdham with Jane Lowdham, his wife or daughter. Late 17th-early 18th centuries.
Reference: MS.7073

James Yonge FRS (1647-1721), retired naval surgeon practising at Plymouth (later Mayor)
Paper on uses of terebinth and various other aspects of military surgery, c.1710.
Reference: MS.5101

Arscott family, Arscott, Devon
Recipe book, c.1725-66.
Reference: MS.981

Alexander Wolcott (alive around 1712-1727), surgeon, Fowey, Cornwall
Lease of a property in the parish of Lansallos, Cornwall, 1727.
Reference: MS.5988

Mary Harrold, Charterhouse Hinton, Somerset
Quitclaim, to Dorothy Ponting of Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire, 1744.
Reference: MS.5249/1

Anne Lisle (alive around 1748), possibly Anne Lisle [née Carey] from Upcern, Dorset
Recipes, 1748.
Reference: MSS.3294-5

Richard Polwhele (1760-1838), clergyman and writer, Cornwall
Book of memoranda and accounts, including some by earlier owners (perhaps including his father Thomas Polwhele (1724-1777)), 1748-1819.
Reference: MS.3949

John Smeaton FRS (1724-1792), civil engineer
Note of inscriptions placed at various points on his Eddystone Lighthouse plus calculations concerning total cost of the light in money and time, c.1759.
Reference: MS.7642/7

Rudolph Erich Raspe (1737-1794), German mineralogist, archeologist and author
Letter, in English, concerning a forthcoming publication and a visit to Cornwall to study smelting processes, 1763.
Reference: MS.7476/1

Rabies, Bath
Advertisement for a cure for the bite of a mad dog, brought from Tonquin by Sir George Cobb and available from Will Frederick, Bookseller, Bath, c.1764.
Reference: MS.7019/2

Collection of medical, veterinary and household recipes, apparently compiled by a Devonshire medical practitioner, mentioning numerous Devon medical figures such as Dr Huxham, Dr Downman and Dr Harvey, 1776-c.1781.
Reference: MS.7365

Evens family, Saltash, Cornwall
Recipe and commonplace book, c.1788-c.1831.
Reference: MS.7732

Bath Casualty Hospital
Rules and orders, account book and register of wills in favour of the hospital, 1788-1840.
Reference: MSS.1094-1097

Milton Abbot, Devon
Book of culinary and medical recipes, 1788-c.1830.
Reference: MS.1828

Dr William Fraser (alive around 1795), Bath
Letter mentioning the dangers of Bath to "youths approaching to an inflammatory age", 1795.
Reference: MS.7396/2

James Nooth (alive around 1796-1804), surgeon, Bath
Papers including bill and receipt concerning expenses incurred by Richard Phillips, 1796-1804.
Reference: MS.7368/2-4

Letter in Dorset dialect, purportedly from John Green, West Lulworth, Dorset, to "Mr Basket, Surjon, Potticary, Warham", requesting medicine for his wife; from an album of chiefly non-medical items assembled by Dr Josiah Cheston of Gloucester. Late 18th-early 19th centuries.
Reference: MS.7704

Parry family, physicians, Bath
Letters by the physicians Caleb Hillier Parry FRS (1755-1822) and his son Charles Henry Parry (1779-1860), 1802-41 and no date. 
Reference: MS.7400/21-26

Material is also held on Caleb Hillier's other son the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry (1790-1855)
See guide for the history of the Polar Regions.
William Hasledine Pepys FRS (1775-1856), chemist
Letter to the chemist and philanthropist William Allen FRS (1770-1843) giving an analysis of the waters at Bath, 1804.
Reference: MS.7400/73

John Rennie FRS (1761-1821), civil engineer
Letter commenting in detail on works affecting the River Avon in Bath in connection with the Kennet and Avon Canal, 1811.
Reference: MS.7478/6

Mrs Meade, Chatley Lodge, near Bath
Letters from Edward Jenner (1749-1823), mainly concerning the treatment of her husband for inflammation of the eye, 1812.
Reference: MS.5238

John Haddy James (1788-1869), army surgeon, later surgeon to the Devon and Exeter Hospital and mayor of Exeter
Letter to his brother Henry James at Exeter, 1814.
Reference: MS.7825/10

Edward Gardner (1752-1823), poet and friend of Edward Jenner, Gloucestershire
Poems by Gardner and his friend Dr French Lawrence of Bath, 1818.
Reference: MS.2471

Hannah Sheppard [née Pollett] (alive around 1818), Keyford House, Somerset
Recipe book, 1818-63.
Reference: MS.4520

Ackland and Littlewood families, general practitioners, Bideford, Devon
Papers relating to four generations of medical practitioners, and to their practice in Bideford, 1819-1970 and no date. 
Reference: MSS. 5410-20 and 7205-16

Recipe book
Collection of cookery, household and medical recipes in various hands, apparently compiled in the West Country; later owned by a Mrs Hill, of Henbury, Gloucestershire, c.1820-76.
Reference: MS.7733

Warrant signed by the King authorising removal of named convicts from gaols in Suffolk, Ipswich (listed separately from Suffolk), Norfolk and Cornwall, and from the Old Bailey in London, to the hulks at Portsmouth prior to transportation to Australia, 1823.
Reference: MS.7830/14

James Prew (died 1846), surgeon-dentist, Bristol and Bath
Account books and bills, 1830-47 and no date. 
Reference: MSS.5208-14

George Alfred Ellis (alive around 1832), physician, Weymouth
Letter to the Central Board of Health concerning the cholera epidemic. 1832.
Reference: MS.6793/1

Charles Hawkes Mules LSA, MRCS, and Henry Burnard LSA, MRCS, general practitioners, Ilminster, Somerset
Accounts of Mules and Burnard's medical practice, including payments by various parishes, sickness clubs, and the Chard Poor Law Union, 1834-9; plus household accounts, probably of the Mules family, 1845-9.
Reference: MS.5653

Robert McCormick (1800-1890), naval surgeon, explorer and naturalist
Diary of a walking tour in Devon, 1834-5.
Reference: MS.3364

Nicholas Littleton MRCS, Saltash, Cornwall
Printed questionnaire sent by the Mutual Life Assurance Office enquiring about the health of R J Bryant, completed and returned by Littleton, 1835.
Reference: MS.7657/4

Thomas Wake Smart, general practitioner, Cranborne, Dorset
British Medical Almanac for, 1838, with Smart's annotations dealing with interesting medical cases, events in Smart's own life, natural history, meteorology and local historic events, 1837-43 and no date. 
Reference: MS.7586

John Henry Parker (1806-1884), architectural historian, bookseller and Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum
Letter concerning the Historical Survey of Cornwall by Charles Sandoe Gilbert (1760-1831) and Parker's own work on ancient buildings, 1838.
Reference: MS.7400/6

Henry Frederick Augustus Goodridge FRCP (1823-1906)
Indenture apprenticing Goodridge to the surgeon-apothecary Richard Thomas of Bath, plus testimonials to Goodridge as a candidate for a job at the Bath Eastern Dispensary, 1839-47.
Reference: MS.5145

Mark Wood (alive around 1846-1853)
Documents demonstrating "writing without hands", one dated at Exeter, 1846-54 and no date. 
Reference: MS.7276

Henry Richard Lobb Veale MD (1832-1908), army surgeon, originally from Devon
Various formal documents, including indenture binding Henry Veale of Maker, Devon, as apprentice to David Raymond Robinson, surgeon, of St Austell, Cornwall, 1848-81.
Reference: MS.7515

Fox family, Falmouth
Hodgkin family archive includes correspondence with various members of the Fox family. See General section.
Reference: PP/HO

Annabella Irvine (alive around 1854-1856), inmate in an asylum at Brislington, Somerset, run by Drs Francis Ker Fox and Charles Fox
Papers relating to her care and to the administration of her affairs, 1854-6 and no date. 
Reference: MS.7676

Edward Evan Meeres (1835?-1908), consulting physician to the Plymouth Public Dispensary
Testimonials and letter, 1858-1905.
Reference: MS.6234

Charles George Thomas Williams (alive around 1868), chemist and druggist, Bath
Indenture apprenticing Frederick Williams to Charles Williams, 1868.
Reference: MS.5468

N H Symons (alive around c.1870), chemist, Penzance
Recipe book, c.1870.
Reference: MS.7771

Taunton pharmacy
Prescription books, account books, ledgers, and note book from a pharmacy run by R Woollatt until, 1906, and thereafter by J Boyd, 1880-1944.
Reference: MSS. 5661-73

Sir Thomas Barlow (1845-1945), physician
Sketchbook, with notes and sketches of a tour of the West Country, 1883.
Reference: PP/BAR/A/13

See also General section.
Reference: PP/BAR

Marwood family, Honiton
Notes on the family's history and on a manuscript held by them describing the last illness of James I; compiled by William Munk (1816-1898), 1885-1933.
Reference: MSS.3649-50

John Grenfell Moyle (alive around 1888), Scilly Isles medical man
Letter to Auguste Roscorla (née Lemon, one of Florence Nightingale's first trainees at St Thomas's Hospital), discusssing the health of a Mrs Hall and describing visits by George Eliot, G H Lewes and Alfred Tennyson; plus envelope and late 20th-century note on Auguste Roscorla, 1888.
Reference: MS.7337/94

Medical Women’s Federation
File on Walker Dunbar Hospital, Bristol, no date. Material on Bristol Health Committee and advert for Lady Medical Inspector, 1912. Material on the amalgamation of Associations of Registered Medical Women into Federation, 1916; Medical Officer of Health, Cornwall, 1962. Correspondence with local Associations, 1960s-80s.
Reference: SA/MWF

Papers relating to James Kasper’s activities on behalf of Sequah Ltd in Somerset, 1890.
Reference: GC/69/1

Joseph Lister (1827-1912), surgeon, 1st Baron Lister
Holiday diary, including tour to Swanage, 1894.
Reference: MS.3303

Queen’s Nursing Institute
Records of relations with affiliated local branches, 1890s-1970s; some deposited material from local district nursing associations.
Reference: SA/QNI

British Medical Association
Material on Public Medical Services in all areas of the UK, also on specific local friendly/medical aid societies, medical institutions, etc, 1900s-60s.
Reference: SA/BMA

Research Defence Society
Records of Bath, Barnstaple and North Devon, Bristol, Plymouth and Torquay branches.
Reference: SA/RDS/D.1

Drs George and Violet Alabaster, Dartmouth
Announcement that the Alabasters' practice has temporarily been transferred to Dr Sparrow and that Dr George Alabaster has rejoined the Royal Army Medical Corps. 1916.
Reference: MS.7285/1

University of Bristol Department of Physiology
Order and account books, 1910-80.
Reference: GC/108

John Bowlby
Material from his period as cadet at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, 1921-5.
Reference: PP/BOW

Wellington General Practice
Record Envelopes, 1923-91.
Reference: GP/28

Family Planning Association (formerly National Birth Control Association)
Records of its dealings with its own regional federations, area organisation, local branches and clinics, correspondence with local authorities, 1930-74. Records of its regional administration, 1965-1991. Includes records of following branches: Taunton, 1961-71, Devon and Cornwall, 1966-75.
Herbert Davies Chalke (1897-1979)
Medical Officer of Health, Dorset, 1934-6. Papers on miscellaneous public health matters.
Reference: GC/200

James Randal Hutchinson (c.1880-1955) and William Henry Bradley (1898-1975)
Case of death after scarlet fever immunisation, Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, 1939. Enteritis and food poisoning, in Cornwall, 1941. Influenza at Canford School, Wimbourne, Dorset, 1946. Food poisoning at St Austell, 1945. Hepatitis among US troops at Bristol, 1944.
Reference: PP/JRH

S H Foulkes (1898-1976)
A few files relating to his period working as a psychiatrist in Exeter, early 1940s.
Reference: PP/SHF/C.2

Shaftesbury Military Hospital
Accounts of its history during World War II.
Reference: GC/250

Eugenics Society
Correspondence relating to Problem Families survey, Bristol, 1947-52.
Reference: SA/EUG/D.171

Permission from the Galton Institute required.

Please note: This collection is being digitised and parts of it will be unavailable during the process. Check the schedule for further information.

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Minutes of South West Metropolitan and Wessex Local Board, 1948-71. Photographs of apparatus and treatment at University of Bristol, c.1950s, Winford Orthopaedic Hospital, 1974, Poole Hospital Physical Medical Department, 1974.
Reference: SA/CSP/J.4/4, Q.1

Sir Graham Selby Wilson (1895-1987)
Photographs of Taunton Public Health Laboratory, no date. ?1950s.
Reference: PP/GSW/H.18

Mental Aftercare Association
Material (including photographs) on residential homes and hostels for former mental patients in Bournemouth and vicinity, Devizes, Swindon, and Weymouth, 1950s-80s.
Reference: SA/MAC

Multiple Sclerosis Society
Files on specific local branches, 1950s-70s.
Reference: SA/MSS/C

Cancer Research Campaign
Files on attempts to establish local committee in Bristol, and relations with other Bristol organisations, 1950-4.
Reference: SA/CRC/F.1/5-6

Abortion Law Reform Association
Bristol local group, 1963-7. Also annual reports of Avon (formerly Wessex) branch of Brook Advisory Centres, 1965-81.
Reference: SA/ALR

Society of Medical Officers of Health
Records of West of England Branch and South West Region, 1965-83.
Reference: SA/SMO/N.14

Horfield Health Centre, Bristol
Midwifery register, 1954-62, and visits diaries, 1963, 1979-83.
Reference: GP/20

Sir Robert Macintosh (1897-1989)
Travel diaries of visits to see South-Western Society of Anaesthetists, 1960, to Bath and Bristol, 1964, Torquay, Plymouth and Exeter, 1965.
Reference: PP/RRM/C.76, 87, 96

Society of Medical Officers of Health
Records of West of England Branch and South West Region, 1965-83.
Reference: SA/SMO/N.14

Sir James Keith Ross (1927-2003)
Wessex Cardiac Surgery Follow up Survey, 1976-81. Files relating to Wessex Regional Hospital Southampton, 1976-90, mainly Cardiothoracic Unit.
Reference: GC/238

Medical Pilgrims
Records of ‘Pilgrimage’ to Bristol, 1981.
Reference: SA/PIL

BACUP (British Association of Cancer United Patients and their Family and Friends)
Correspondence with Cancer Help Centre Bristol, 1985-6. Correspondence with Help for Health, Wessex Regional Library Unit, 1987, Professor J M A Whitehouse of Wessex Regional Oncology Unit, 1987. Press cuttings relating to Plymouth free helpline, 1989.
Reference: SA/BAC

Bristol ethnic minorities health investigation
Questionnaires, interview transcripts, cassette tapes, and published results of survey of concepts of illness, use of health services, etc, among Punjabi-speaking women in Bristol, 1986-7.
Reference: GC/210

Alice Mary Stewart
Files relating to interaction with local groups and individuals concerned about the environment and issues to do with low-level radiation, 1980s-90s.
Reference: PP/AMS

British Health Care Arts Centre
Astra Arts Award to West Dorset Hospital, Dorchester, 1990-1.
Reference: SA/BHC/G.1

Biochemical Society
File on Wales and West Regional Section, 1992-5.
Reference: SA/BIO/B.21

Oral History of General Practice, 1935-52
Garnet Hemsted, Torquay; David E Granger, Poole; David Ferguson, St Blazey, 1993-4.
Reference: GP/29

Dr Stefan Cembrowicz
Transcripts of oral history interviews with elderly general practitioners in the Bristol area. Dr Freddie Morgan, formerly Morgenbesser, 2000, and Dr Ivor Ernest Doney, 2004.
Reference: GP/58

Contact us

To contact the Collections team, email collections@wellcome.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.