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History

The Museum of Medicine and Health dates back to the closure of the old Manchester Medical School on Coupland Street and its transfer to the new Stopford Building in the 1970s.

George A. G. Mitchell (1906 - 1993), the University’s Professor of Anatomy, had built up a collection of antique medical instruments that were kept in his office (pictured below).

Professor George Mitchell's office in the old medical school, Coupland Street, The University of Manchester

The transfer of the Medical School to the new Stopford Building in 1972 was overseen by Dr F. B. Beswick, the Executive Dean, who decided that any equipment left, including Professor Mitchell's collection, should be saved.

Charlotte Beswick, wife of the Executive Dean, volunteered to act as curator and started to identify and record the vast collection of objects. Her work attracted further donations and over the years it has grown to include around 3,000 objects donated from hospitals, clinics and healthcare professionals.

In honour of Charlotte and her family the Museum of Medicine and Health has named its core collection the Beswick Collection.

After Charlotte retired in 1995, Bill Jackson, past president of the British Society for the History of Pharmacy and a member of the International Academy of the History of Pharmacy, managed the collection.

The present day

Today the museum employs a part-time Heritage Officer to look after the collection and make them accessible to students, staff at the University, as well as local schools and at public events.

Dr Peter Mohr, a retired hospital consultant and his wife Julie are also active volunteers, contributing their time and efforts for the benefit of the museum.