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Wellcome Library
Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library contains documents in every kind of documentary medium, including paintings, photographs, handwritten and printed books, typescripts, films, graphic works and data files, ranging from ancient Egyptian papyri to the current decade. It is open to the public, admission free. The Wellcome Library was founded by the American-born pharmaceutical and philanthropic entrepreneur Henry S. Wellcome when he came to England in 1880. By his will, Wellcome also founded the British registered charity The Wellcome Trust which today owns and maintains the Wellcome Library. Inspired by studies in evolutionary cultural anthropology, the Library documents the skills, thoughts, media, and customs that have been developed to benefit and advance human life in any period or country. The history of Wellcome's own profession of pharmacy, and the histories of related subjects such as medicine, chemistry, communications and charities, are among themes emphasised in the collection. Paintings include: votive pictures; childbirth scenes; Spanish paintings; icons of the Fountain of Life; and four paintings of the 'Works of Mercy' by Frederick Cayley Robinson. The Wellcome Library is housed in the Wellcome Building, a neoclassical building in the moderne style, constructed by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1932 to house his historical collections. It was located in Bloomsbury in order to be convenient for London university researchers and the British Museum. The façade includes an Ionic colonnade and a pediment, the traditional house-style for academic buildings. The interior was built with floors and walls of polished marble and Ionic bronze fittings (only the marble staircase now survives, the remainder having been replaced in 2005–2007). The Wellcome Library occupies four floors of the building: it includes a grand double-height reading room, and other study rooms where paintings may be seen.

Wellcome Library

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

[email protected]

020 7611 8722

Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit