Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Rare collection set for display

The medicine chest used to treat Bonnie Prince Charlie (as owned by his personal physician Sir Stuart Thriepland)
The medicine chest used by Bonnie Prince Charlie is in the collection

A collection of rare and historical medical books and artefacts are to go on public display for the first time in Edinburgh.

The library of the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh comprises of 50,000 works dating back 400 years.

Among them is the first description of the heart's circulatory system and a book which provided the basis for modern-day, evidence-based medicine.

About 100,000 was raised to put them on view through events and exhibitions.

Established in 1682, the library was the first of its kind in Scotland dedicated to the study of medicine, and one of the most important in the world at that time.

The exhibition also includes the medicine chest used to treat Bonnie Prince Charlie (as owned by his personal physician Sir Stuart Thriepland) and the 16th Century Ripley Scroll which provided the basis for the popular modern children's book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The library hopes to hold a series of public events and exhibitions to bring them to better public attention. A date has not been set for when the books and artefacts will be put on display.

Professor Neil Douglas, president of The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE), said: "For 326 years the RCPE has been the proud custodian of this important collection containing many extremely rare medical works of historical importance which are likely to be of great interest to the public in addition to those working in medicine.

"It may not be widely recognised quite how influential Scottish medicine was in influencing the development of international medical practice.

"This rich tradition of Scottish medicine continues to this day, with many Scottish doctors and researchers continuing to influence international practice in their fields both individually and through The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh."

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