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Showing posts from 2013

New Donation of Abraham Colles Portraits

On Friday 29 th November the College was delighted to receive a donation of three Colles portraits (two of Abraham Colles, one of Sophia Colles) from Mr. Michael Brooke and family in Australia. Abraham Colles (1773-1843) Mr. Brooke’s family are descendants of Abraham’s fifth son, Richard. Richard was born in Dublin in 1818 and received his BA from Trinity College Dublin in 1841. After a decade at the English Bar he migrated to Australia taking up residence in Castlemaine, Victoria in 1852. Richard became Sheriff of Castlemaine and held that position for 35 years. He was close friends with the famous Australian explorer Robert Burke O’Hara (1820-1861). On his explorations of the Australian outback O’Hara named a mountain in the north-eastern corner of Queensland ‘Mt. Collis’ after his friend. O’Hara died in the outback near Cooper Creek in South Australia in 1861. Richard laid the foundation stone of the O’Hara memorial in Castlemaine 1862.  Sophia Colles, wife of Abrah

Frankenstein's Medical Instruments

Yesterday 27 medical instruments were picked up from the RCSI Heritage Collections to be used in an up-coming horror TV series. The series which was created for the giant US TV network Showtime by Josh Logan is being filmed in Ardmore Studios in Bray and is called Penny Dreadful. It is set in Victorian London and will feature a number of famous (and infamous) characters from classic horror literature. These include Dorian Gray, Dracula and Dr. Victor Frankenstien. Filming is taking place now in various locations around Dublin and features such stars as Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Helen McCrory.   RCSI/MI/707/93 - Metal box of sutures RCSI/MI/727/93 - Surgical instruments in wooden box The instruments supplied by the RCSI Heritage Collections will be on display in D

The Lentaigne Manuscript

Typical marginal illustrations in the Lentaigne Manuscript This early fifteenth century manuscript, is  so styled to honour Sir John Lentaigne,  who presented it to the library of the Royal  College of Surgeon in Ireland in March  1851. The manuscript itself is a copy of  the  works of the English surgeon, John of  Arderne  (1307-c1390). The Lentaignes were landowners in  Normandy and Sir John's father, a  physician, came to Dublin in 1792. Born in Dublin in 1805 Sir John was an M.D. of  Trinity College, Dublin and a Fellow of the RCSI. A social-reformer he became  Inspector-General of Prisons and in 1861 he became the Commissioner of National Education. He died in 1886. John of Arderne, a contemporary of Chaucer, served Edward III as an army surgeon at the battle of Crécy in 1346. He was also a favourite of Edward's eldest son, the Black Prince (who granted him land in Connaught). Arderne's writings are the earliest documents in these islands

The Ghost of Carmichael

This being the day of Samhain, when the doorways to the Otherworld open allowing spirits and the dead to come back to our world for one night, I thought a ghost story would be most appropriate. Dr. Richard Carmichael was born on 6th February 1776 in Bishop Street in Dublin. He began his studies in the RCSI under the indenture of Robert Moore Peile in 1794. On the 15th September 1795 at the tender age of 20 he passed the College examinations qualifying him to act as a surgeon's mate. In May 1803 he became a Licentiate of the College and was elected a member that November. Carmichael became President of the College for the first time in 1813 at the age of 34. Dr. Richard Carmichael (1776-1849) Carmichael went on to have an eminent career being appointed to such positions as Surgeon to St. George's Hospital and Dispensary in 1803; Surgeon to the House of Industry Hospitals in 1816; President of the RCSI for a second time in 1826; running his own very successful practice

Bram Stoker Festival Lights

As many of you may have seen while walking around the city last weekend, a number of buildings were lit up red in honour of Bram Stoker. The people at the Bram Stoker Festival, which ran from the 26th to 28th October 2013, wanted to highlight the many buildings that had some connection to Bram, his family and his writings. The College was lit a beautiful shade of red in reference to Bram's most famous literary work Dracula.  123 Stephens Green light up in honour of Bram Stoker Bram's brother, William Thornley Stoker was a graduate of the RCSI and become President in 1894-1896. A detailed account of his life can be found on the Royal College of Physicians recent blog post Having such a skilled and prominent surgeon as a brother it is easy to see how Bram could have drawn inspiration from Thornley for his writings. But Bram's other brother's could also have fed his creative mind.

Sir Charles Cameron's Freedom Box

During the summer the College was delighted to acquire an exquisite Irish Arts and Crafts Freedom Box that was presented to Sir Charles Cameron (RCSI President 1885-1886) to house the Freedom of the City scroll he had been awarded by Dublin Corporation in 1910. The rectangular box is quite large and heavy as it is made from brass, copper, coloured marble and semi-precious stones. Sir Charles Cameron Freedom Box presented to him in 1910  Hidden inside is a compartment that is released by pressing a concealed lock. Housed within this compartment is the beautifully illuminated silk-mounted scroll which still retains its splendid bright colours.  The extract from the scroll below records Cameron’s devotion to the people and city of Dublin as their Public Health Advisor That almost half a century of devoted exertion on his part to the extermination of diseases and everything inimical to public health within the City has resulted in a courageous and efficient public heal

RCSI Gathering 2013

Gillian Sheehan, Siobhan Wallace and Yinka Lambo enjoying the selection of RCSI Yearbooks on display Alumni who attended the RCSI Gathering enjoyed reminiscing over their yearbooks. Seeing photos of themselves and their classmates after decades evoked disbelief, mirth and sadness. Many of the photos and their captions are amusing, while it is hard to believe how the years change others and oneself. Friends no longer living were remembered and missed once more. Most people remarked that they still had their yearbook and knew where it was – even if they hadn’t laid hands on it for years. A few actually brought theirs along so classmates attending the reunion could sign them. Yearbooks are precious possessions. RCSI Assistant Librarians Mary Gavin and Mary O'Doherty at the Heritage Collections stand A full set of yearbooks from the first one brought out by the class of 1959-64 is a precious possession of the library too. Displaying these for our alumni to peruse g

The Royal Painting and the Putees

Photograph of Queen Victoria portrait slashed by rebels in 1916. During Heritage Week the College had large numbers of people walk through it's buildings hearing of the history contained within. A photograph featured in the Heritage Collections display caught the attention of Michael Parsons, author of the Fine Arts and Antiques column in the Irish Times. The photograph in question showed a life-size portrait of Queen Victoria after it had been slashed by the rebels to make puttees. The reason it caught Michael's eye was because a piece of this portrait was up for auction in Whyte's auctioneers on Saturday 14th September Countess Markievicz, Commander Mallin and over one hundred men, women and children took control of the College during the rising in Easter Week of 1916. One of these women was Margaret Skinnider a native of

Heritage Week at RCSI

Heritage Week has just come to an end in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. The College opened it's doors to the public on Tuesday 20th August with guided tours twice a day finishing late yesterday afternoon. Frank Donegan, Head Porter of the College, gave these guided tours which lasted up to one and half hours. The tours which originally were to accommodate 30 people took at least 60 each time as the demand was so great. Frank talked about the history of the College and it's unique place in the development of medicine in Ireland and Europe. But he also talked of the buildings and the numerous historic events they have been witness to, especially 123 Stephens Green. A small taster of the unique material the Heritage Collections holds was put out on display in the Board Room during Heritage Week. Here are some of the pieces featured. This first item belonged to none other than Abraham Colles, a medical man much revered and respected by his peers. Colles was President

William Dease Statue

William Dease (1752-1798)       The impressive, whole-length seated statue facing the entrance door in the front hall of the College, represents William Dease (1752-1798) one of the founders of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He was the College's first Professor of Surgery and it's President in 1789. The sculptor was Sir Thomas Farrell, RHA. It was presented by the subject's grandson, Matthew O'Reilly Dease. It was unveiled by the Countess of Aberdeen at an afternoon ceremony on 27th April 1886. William Dease was born in Lisney, Co. Cavan, in 1752 to a landed family which had suffered through support of the Stuart cause. He received his professional education in Dublin and Paris, settling in Dublin he soon attained a good practice. He was surgeon to the United Hospitals of St. Nicolas and St. Catherine, in Francis Street, which in 1766 had forty beds and 5 elected surgeons. Dease was an original member of the Dublin Society for Surgeons. A successful pr

The Board Room

The College functioned first in humble premises near Mercer's Hospital (the present Mercer Library), moving in 1810 to a new building facing Stephen's Green. On the upper floor, Sir Charles Cameron tells us there was RCSI in 1810 A large room.....with windows opening upon the Green, [which] was devoted to the meetings of the College and their committees. The Board Room then extended the entire width of the upper storey and its original dimensions were not added to by the major expansion of the building initiated in 1825. It provided ample space for important occasions on which the President, Vice-President, Censors and Members convened to deal with College business. A carpet which cost £48.5s.3d was purchased; a large and impressive chair was provided for the President; armchairs were available for lesser dignitaries, while the members (all of whom were free to attend) sat on plain seats. RCSI Board Room before 1916 The supplemental charter (1844) introduced a C

Above the College Door

He went as far as the clock of the College of Surgeons: it was on the stroke of ten. He set off briskly along the northern side of the Green, hurrying for fear of Corley....  - James Joyce; 'Dubliners' With the release of the Central Bank of Ireland's commemorative medal to James Joyce a few months back the above quote from 'Two Gallants' has been in my mind. The clock above the front entrance to the College is a beautiful eye-catching sky blue colour, much like Dublin's sky these last few sunny days. It was made by James Booth and Sons who were prominent watch and clock makers based in Dublin. James had his workshop near Stephen's Green North from 1823 and he is registered in the Dublin Street Directory 1862 as a 'foreign and English watch and clock maker' . His son James Jnr. worked on Nassau Street in 1868 and the business continued up until the 1950s. Booth was popular among the fashionable and wealthy in Dublin and he received a large sh

Thomas Mackesy Silver Piece

On Friday 10th May the RCSI Heritage Collections were paid a visit by Ms. Heather Elliott and her mother Mrs. Roma Peare. Mrs. Peare gifted a silver center piece given to Thomas Lewis Mackesy (1790-1869) by his medical brethren on 6th June 1864 to the College in 2007. The piece was in Mrs. Peare's family for generations with her husband being a distant relation of Thomas Mackesy. Thomas Lewis Mackesy (1790-1869) Thomas Lewis Mackesy was born in Waterford in 1790. His father was an apothecary and his mother was a Miss Lewis. He was apprenticed to his father and saw a good deal of practice at the Leper Hospital in Waterford. Mackesy came to Dublin and was prepared in twelve months for the office of assistant-surgeon in the army. He served for seven years in the artillery and was present when the British were repulsed at Guadeloupe  If it wasn't for his running speed and agility he would most certainly have been captured. On his return from service, Mackesy settled down to

Arrival of Charitable Infirmary Archive

The RCSI Heritage Collections are delighted to announce the arrival of its latest collection that of the Charitable Infirmary (Jervis Street Hospital) received from the Charitable infirmary Charitable Trust (CICT). The full and colourful history of the CICT can be found on their website  Mr. Peter McLean (1934-2010)  The Charitable Infirmary Collection made its way to the   Royal College of Surgeons through the foresight of one of   our past Presidents and member of the CICT Trust   Committee Mr. Peter McLean.   Mr. McLean studied at the RCSI, became a Fellow of the   College in 1962, a Council Member in 1984 and President   from 1996 to 1998. He interned in the Charitable Infirmary   in Jervis Street, worked as a consultant in there and in  Beaumont Hospital and sat on the CICT Trust Committee.  He had a passion for heritage and the preservation of this   heritage for future generations. Mr. McLean personally   funded the

The College Arms

    The late J.D.H Widdess, Librarian and Professor of Biology, knew more about the College than any other person. His account of the Arms of the College explains how suitable armorial bearings were devised and used from 1784 until 1907 when it was realised that formal authority to use a coat of arms had never been obtained.   An application was made immediately to the Ulster King of Arms, the heraldic authority in Ireland, who had his office in Dublin Castle. A grant of arms was given on 20th March 1907 consisting of a shield, crest and supporters. Its official description in the language of heraldry is quite a mouthful:      'Argent on a Saltire gules, a dexter hand apaumée fessewise, couped at the wrist proper, on a Chief      ermine harp crowned between two fleams or; for CREST on a wreath of the Colours an Eagle     preying on a serpent proper; for SUPPORTERS two Irish elks each gorged with a Chaplet of     Shamrock all proper; and for MOTTO Consilio Manuq