The Royal College of Physicians of London is the oldest medical institution in England. Fellows of the College were expected to demonstrate that they were 'groundedly learned' and to continue with their academic endeavours. Built up over almost five centuries the College collections provide a rich resource across many disciplines. The evolution of medical practice and the development of all the specialties can be traced through its contents, along with insights into personalities and society throughout the period.
Sir Clifford Allbutt, inventor of the short clinical thermometer, was also responsible for the introduction of the opthalmoscope, weighing machine and microscope to the wards. His investigations also led to improved treatment of arterial disease.