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Creating the first Henry Lumley Collections Engagement Grant: What it’s all about, our ultimate goals for the research and how you can get involved

19 May 2023

Corinne Hogan

Henry Lumley Grant 1: College Exterior

Above: The exterior of the College c. 1899. From the College Archives, reference RCS-PH/00010.


On May 10th, the department of the Library and Archives had the pleasure of launching the inaugural Henry Lumley Collections Engagement Grant. This grant provides an opportunity for a UK based researcher, in any discipline, to explore the Library and Archives rich collections and create a range of exciting and innovative research outputs. Applications for the grant are open until 16th June and the award will be made to a UK based researcher over the age of 18.

Note: this grant is not for surgical research: learn more about surgical research fellowships, grants and awards.

Henry Lumley Grant 2: Refurbished Lumley Library

Above: The refurbished Lumley Library

In 2022 the Lumley family made a generous offer to enable the Library and Archives Department to realise a long-held ambition, a proposal to create and advertise an annual research grant award and initiate the inaugural research project of that award. The grant was aimed at generating an exciting idea that would foster further understanding of the collections for staff, potential researchers and the wider and more diverse audiences the department aims to attract. The grant would be for a library, archives (or integrative library and archives) researcher to explore the collections, engage with them and produce some thought provoking, ingenious and memorable outputs detailing their research responses to our world class science, humanities and arts related collections.

A longer-term aim the Library and Archives department envision once the grant is established, is initiating it as a way of exploring, supporting and building on the research created and thereby generating a community that goes beyond the grant year and establishes long term mutually beneficial associations with our researchers.

Henry Lumley Grant 3: Panzer images

Above: Pages from Georg Wolfgang Franz Panzer (1755-1829): Faunae Insectorum Germanicae Initia [1792-]1793-1813, in 109 parts.

Inaugural steps

Given the budget was in place, staff moved on to the logistics of how the grant would be run, reviewed and awarded. The team consulted a number of colleagues in the Library and Archives sector and relied on knowledge from these networks and staff experience from the department and around the College to determine the exact form that the grant would take. After this research, staff were able to agree on the outputs the award would require to be deemed successful and how the eligibility of the awardee would be established. For more information on the specifics of eligibility please see the grant webpage. The team also settled upon a name that would reflect the source of the generous gift which had made the grant possible.

Henry Lumley Grant 4: Bierkowski Aselli

Above left: Ludwig Józef Bierkowski, (1801-1860). Anatomisch-chirurgische Abbildungen...1827. Above right: Gaspare Aselli (1581-1626). De lactibus.1640.


The reality

What the team ultimately came up with is now the 2023 Henry Lumley Collections Engagement Grant. It provides UK based researchers with an opportunity to visit the College Library’s stunning, newly refurbished Research Room in Holborn, London, to conduct research on a topic centred on the library and archive collections of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The grant is open to researchers in any field of study.

Location and duration

The successful candidate will spend around six weeks, or the part-time equivalent, at the College researching the collections. The research and mandatory outputs must be completed between July 2023 and March 2024. The research visits will be organised in agreement with Archives and Library staff.


The aims of the grant are to facilitate new research into RCS England’s library and archives collections and to raise awareness of the collections amongst the research community and the wider public. The recipient will be expected to engage with the library and archives team and to disseminate their research outcomes to a variety of audiences.

Henry Lumley Grant 5: Plenk book & MS0022_6_4_004

Above left: Josephi Jacobi Plenck (1738-1807) Icones plantarum medicinalium. 1788-1803. Above right: Watercolour of syphilitic tongue. Archive reference: MS0022/6/4/004.

What the grant gives

The visiting researcher will receive a grant of £3,000 towards subsistence and travel expenses. The researcher will also be entitled to study space in the Library & Archives Research Room at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, during advertised opening hours, in arrangement with the Library and Archives team. When required, also by arrangement with the department, access to staff with specialist knowledge of the collection in question will be made.

Henry Lumley Grant 6: The Research Room

Outputs essential and additional

The visiting researcher will be required to provide outputs that fall into two categories. The essential ones are: an article for the RCS England Bulletin, a blog post and an end of project report. There is also a requirement to come up with at least one additional output as envisioned and described in the awardee’s research proposal.

The team made a list of suggested outputs (see the grant webpage) but this is definitely not exclusive. The team are clear that the additional outputs can be on the suggested list but we do not expect candidates to limit themselves to it. A creative vision and an enthusiastic approach coupled with a well-researched idea that taps into some of the panoply of diverse subjects- making connections and constructing new ways of approaching and responding to the collections is what we will be looking for in our successful applicant.

The department will also require the outputs to include acknowledgement of the grant and citation of RCS England Library & Archives in any resulting publications.

Henry Lumley Grant 7: Library Collage

RCS England Library & Archives

RCS England holds one of the foremost medical and surgical collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK. They include extensive collections of medieval manuscripts, early printed books, tracts and original unpublished archive material. The latter includes the institutional archive and personal papers covering a vast range of subject areas. Further details on finding out more about these collections may be found on the grant webpage along with the core subject and collection strengths and links to further sources of information on the rich and varied holdings.


Please follow the simple instructions on the grant webpage to apply. If you have specific questions or concerns or would like to plan an exploratory visit please contact us at, with the subject line “Henry Lumley Grant”.

The deadline for applications is 16 June 2023.

Please note that only collections managed by the library and archives are in scope, collections managed by the museums are not in scope for this grant.

Corrine Hogan, Assistant Librarian

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