Australian visitors bring a special gift

The York Castle Museum welcomed some very special visitors from Australia yesterday.

Glennys Kirk, the widow of the grandson of the museum’s founder, John Kirk, travelled with her daughter Catherine, from Western Australia, to donate medical records to the museum’s collection which are over 100 years old.

Alison Bodley, curator of history at the York Castle Museum said: “John Kirk achieved great things here and, as well as looking after his initial collection, we are always keen to find out more about the man himself.”

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Dr Kirk practised at hospitals including Great Ormond Street in London and in 1898 he and his young family moved to Pickering.

However, his real passion lay in collecting items which were disappearing due to mass production. By 1918 his collection included everything from Victorian hypodermic needles to horse bridles. In the early 1930s Dr Kirk decided his collections would best be at home in a museum created within the old Female Prison in York – which later became the York Castle Museum.

Many of Dr Kirk’s original items form the basis of the museum’s collections today. The medical notes donated are from when Dr Kirk was a student.

“Its great for our collections, we are always keen to have anything to do with Dr Kirk and anything that gives us an insight into his life,” a museum spokeswoman said.