Articles are in Portable Document Format (PDF). They may be read, searched and printed using any PDF reader.
If there has been any inadvertent transgression of copyright, the copyright holder is requested to contact the Archivist.

The Society would welcome offers of suitable memoirs of life as a medical student or doctor in times gone by.

Records of the Medical Societies of Belfast 1822 to 1884

This is a compilation in two volumes of all records found so far relating to the four medical societies which existed in Belfast during this time. These were the Belfast Medical Society, the Belfast Clinical and Pathological Society, the Ulster Medical Protective Association, and the Ulster Medical Society. The first three combined in 1862 to form the fourth which, of course, continues to thrive to this day.

A new version with an extra two papers in an appendix to volume 2 was uploaded on 31 October 2020.
Volume 1  (24MB)
Volume 2  (19MB)

A small number of printed copies have been distributed to libraries and other institutions so that this period of medicine in Belfast will not be forgotten. Anyone may use the pdfs to print a copy of the book for their own use.

John Creery Ferguson

A diary kept by Ferguson from 30 October 1824 to 8 April 1825, is in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (reference D1918/2/4). Ferguson was the first president of the Ulster Medical Society, and the first person in the British Isles to hear the foetal heart sounds through a stethoscope. The diary has been transcribed with the permission of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and is available below in combination with Malcolm's notebooks.

Three further diaries of his for the years 1862–64 are available in PRONI under the number D2936/8, but these are not narratives, merely daily jottings, and have not been transcribed.

Sir Ian Fraser

In his book A Surgeon's Century: The Life of Sir Ian Fraser DSO FRCS Professor Richard Clarke states that in 1978 Sir Ian gave the Society a talk entitled The Treasures of the Ulster Medical Society. A transcript is available below.
The Treasures of the Ulster Medical Society

Andrew George Malcolm

Two notebooks written by Malcolm from 7 November 1839 to 15 February 1842 are in the Wellcome Library in London. These have been transcribed with the permission of the Library and are available below. (New version with minor corrections uploaded on 25 May 2022). Included is a diary kept by John Creery Ferguson (see above).

Malcolm gave the opening address to the medical students in 1852, wrote a brief account of his career (probably in 1856) and had started to write a four-part textbook on clinical medicine. Unfortunately he died while the first part was in the process of being published, this process being completed by his friends J C Ferguson and J M Pierrie.
Malcolm's Notebooks and Ferguson's Diary
Opening Address to the Students 1852–53
Mems of Public Matters or Record of A G Malcolm's Life Written by Himself
Introduction to Clinical Study

Robert William (Bill) Magill Strain

Strain recorded and had printed his recollections of his times as a medical student at Queen's University of Belfast from 1924 to 1930, and as a houseman at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, from 1930 to 1931. A transcript is available below.
Les Neiges d'Antan

The Dying Bacillus

This poem will be found in Appendix III of The White Plague in Ulster, A short history of tuberculosis in Northern Ireland, by H. G. Calwell and D. H. Craig. Unfortunately, while one tubercule bacillus may have died on Professor Symmers' microscope slide, its extended family is still plentiful elsewhere in the world.
The Dying Bacillus


Histories  Belfast City Hospital
Claremont Street Hospital
Mater Infirmorum Hospital
Royal Victoria Hospital

Belfast Medical School and Belfast Medical Students' Association

Histories  Belfast Medical School
Belfast Medical Students' Association