public health

Between the wars, the school's museum took up three floors at Keppel Street. One section was devoted to tropical diseases, with early photographs, specimens and models, following first director Andrew Balfour's idea of 'a textbook on the wall' for each disease.

Another section concerned public health and hygiene. Faded photographs show posters exhorting citizens to practise domestic and civic 'cleanliness' in order to remain healthy. The basement held exhibits of what was described as 'sanitary engineering' and 'sanitary appliances', with both 'good and unsuitable examples' on display.

'Live insects of medical interest' were also considered an important teaching aid. The programme for a reception in 1937 records that guests were treated to an exhibit of malarial mosquitoes, the rat fleas which carried bubonic plague and the mosquitoes which carried yellow fever. One hopes that any such creatures were securely contained when, as part of preparations for war, the museum's contents were carefully packed up and put in the basement for safety.

There, they were nearly all destroyed by a direct hit in May 1941. However, an inner storeroom of the library still contains a range of historic treasures, including old photographs, some of Patrick Manson's notebooks and the original mosquito box from 1900.