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Extraordinary collection of antique medical instruments loaned to RCPI Heritage Centre – Volunteers needed to help with identification!

Can you help identify these antique medical instruments?

Volunteers with medical expertise needed!

Our Heritage Centre has received an extraordinary part of Ireland’s medical history, with the loan of a large medical instrument collection from Read’s Cutlers.

The process of sorting and identifying the instruments will begin in the next few months. The Heritage Centre is looking for volunteers from among our Trainees, Members and Fellows to help with the identification process. If you would like to help please contact Harriet at the details below.

About Read's - Ireland's oldest shop and iconic cutlery and instrument makers

Reads is the home of Ireland’s oldest shop and one of Europe’s oldest brands with a unique Irish family history.

The history of the Read’s company goes back to 1712 when James Read arrived in Dublin as an apprentice cutler to a business on Crane Lane in Dublin city. Read took over the business in the 1720s, and by the 1760s the business extended on to the newly created Parliament Street.

Successive members of the Read family established themselves as Ireland’s finest knife, sword, cutler and instrument makers. In 1821 Thomas Read & Co. were granted a Royal warrant to supply cutlery and surgical instruments.

The shop remained in the family, and in its original location on Parliament Street, Dublin 2, until the 1990s. The building was left empty for some years before being purchased in 2011 by Clem Kenny.

Following four years of meticulous and painstaking restoration, the property and its Georgian interiors have be restored to their former glory.

The project turned up many surprises, including a huge quantity of Read’s stock in the basement. The 11,500 items found covered all parts of Read’s business from cutlery to swords, but the largest quantity of material turned out to be medical instruments.

You can view some of these items below.

Large quantity of medical instruments loaned to "the perfect home"

This unique collection of antique medical instruments, representing an important part of Ireland’s medical heritage, has now been loaned to the RCPI Heritage Centre.

Clem Kenny, owner of the building on Parliament Street, said, "I am delighted to make available this unique find to RCPI as it is the perfect home for the collection where the items found will be properly researched, preserved and made accessible and will add to the collections of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland."

If you would like to find out more about the collection or are interested in helping us identify the instruments please contact Harriet Wheelock in the Heritage Centre on 01 6698817 or email heritagecentre@rcpi.ie

Contact us

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.