Trade Catalogues


Medical Literature


Surgical Literature

The Museum library includes a large collection of historical textbooks that illustrate equipment and techniques from the 1500s to the present day.

The 15,000-volume collection also contains pharmacopoeias, histories of medical institutions and organisations, biographies, local and trade directories and general books covering most aspects of the history of medicine.

Microfilm copies of London trade directories from 1800 to 1900 are also available.

Commercial Literature

The Museum’s commercial literature collection contains items relating to all aspects of the international medical supply industry. For example ‘quack’ or fringe medicine, pharmacy and surgical instrument manufacturers.

Items range from single sheet flyers and advertising material to 2,000 page catalogues and date from the 1700s to the present day. This collection is unique in its size and breadth of coverage. We also keep microfiche copies of manufacturers’ catalogues held by other museums.


The Thackray Medical Museum has a growing archive relating to the healthcare industry. It includes 20th century material from the Thackray medical supply company and other medical supply firms, as well as a collection of pre-NHS pharmacy prescription books dating to the 1800s.

We also have a small but interesting collection of photographs that illustrate public health problems in Leeds between 1930 and 1970.