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John Dee's crystal.

John Dee’s crystal

19/07/2016 | Early Medicine

John Dee (1527–1609) is a man who continues to fascinate us today. As discussed in a previous post, Dee was involved in a large and varied number of activities. He advised Queen Elizabeth I on astrological and scientific matters, published… Continue reading


The Red Cross stamp collection

18/07/2016 | From the Collections

Basil O’Connor, first president of the American National Red Cross (1947) and noted campaigner against polio was also a stamp collector. The Library have just acquired his nine album collection of 1043 international Red Cross / Red Crescent themed stamps.… Continue reading

D 2593

Fighting Fit: the wartime battle for Britain’s health

13/07/2016 | The Researcher’s View

“We’re on Number 12 platform at Waterloo Station, one of the ten big metropolitan stations that are engaged today (1 September 1939) on the evacuation of London’s schoolchildren,” reads the BBC’s radio announcer to the sound of puffing steam engines.… Continue reading

N0028847 Royal Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, Surrey
Credit: Niall McCrae. Wellcome Images
Royal Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, Surrey
This was the largest and grandest hospital built for private mental patients in Britain. In 1948 it was taken over by the National Health Service, and served parts of West Surrey. It closed down in the 1980's after a serious fire. It has now been turned into luxury apartments.
1998 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see

Holloway Sanatorium for the Insane

08/07/2016 | From the Collections

The travel writer Bill Bryson recorded that Virginia Water, the home to Holloway Sanatorium, had a charm about it because “it was full of wandering lunatics”. Bryson worked at the sanatorium in 1973 as a janitor on Tuke Ward. In… Continue reading


The story of Daraprim: from experimental drug to commodity

30/06/2016 | From the Collections

A 62-year-old pharmaceutical drug developed by the Burroughs Wellcome Co. hit the news recently when the drug company who purchased the US marketing rights and increased the price by 5,000%. Today pyrimethamine (brand name Daraprim) is mainly used to treat… Continue reading


Apollo and the Aztecs

27/06/2016 | From the Collections

Microcephaly is a word that has come from nowhere to the newspapers’ front pages in a surprisingly short time, owing to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil coinciding with the preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Congenital… Continue reading