I went to the Liverpool Medical Institution many times since I moved here because they always seem to organize very interesting activities for events such as Light Night. This month I booked tickets for the tour they were offering with the Heritage Open Days event. They offer tours for groups at low prices, but that can be a bit tricky for people who would like to have the tour on their own. Luckily I was able to get these tickets and learn a bit more about the history of the institution.
Liverpool Medical Institution has a long history, being one of the oldest medical societies in the world. It started as a Book Club organized by local surgeouns in the 18th century. It evolved into the Liverpool Medical Library in 1779. It was very popular with doctors and it meant they could have access to books for a small member’s fee.
In the 18th and 19th century Liverpool was a great location for doctors as it was also a very important port and the mariners were bringing back all sort of diseases with them. Even now Liverpool is an important centre for tropical diseases.
In the 1830s Dr John Rutter made a campaign with the aim to raise funds to build the present building. The building was opened in 1837. Two years after that the Liverpool Medical Library and Liverpool Medical Society merged into the Liverpool Medical Institution.
The library is one of the rooms usually open for events. It is a large room which houses the newer books, all dating from the 1900s. There is a large archive in the basement for the old books. The oldest they have in the library dates back to the 1530s.
Besides the gorgeous library and the room they use for meetings, the Institution has a Lecture Theatre.
This Victorian Lecture Theatre was used by doctors for lectures and also for showing their patients. Patients were invited there for different reasons, for example to show how a surgery went or what treatment worked in that case. Doctors might ask for opinions from the other doctors about their patients for diseases that were new to them. It must have been an amazing learning place for doctors and, indeed, it was very popular with doctors coming from all corners of the UK to study here.
Doctors were also using the lecture theatre to talk about their discoveries.
Liverpool Medical Institution is on 114 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5SR.