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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0100 G/PP1/23
HELMCKEN: family papers (1842-1939)
1842, [1847], 1939
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
3 volumes, 1 item


Name of creator(s)

Helmcken, John Sebastian, 1824-1920, physician, Helmcken, W, fl 1842

Administrative / Biographical history

John Sebastian Helmcken was born at Whitechapel, London, 1824; educated at St George's German and English School, 1828; apprentice to Dr Graves to train as a chemist and druggist, 1839-1841; student, Guy's Hospital, 1844; first prize for Practical Chemistry and second prize for Materia Medica, 1845; Licentiate of the Apothecaries Company, 1847; won one of the two Pupils Physical prizes; Ship's Surgeon with the Hudson's Bay Company, 1847; made voyages to Hudson's Bay and Bombay, India; admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons, 1848; surgeon for the Hudson's Bay Company emigrants, Vancouver Island, 1850; Hudson's Bay Company surgeon to Fort Rupert in May 1850; appointed magistrate in 1850; maintained private practice in Victoria; member of the first Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island for Esquimalt and Victoria, 1856; Speaker of the Assembly, 1856-1866; elected as a member for Esquimalt/Metchosin, 1860; President of the Board of Directors for the Royal Jubilee Hospital, 1862-1872, as well as serving as Doctor to the Jail; Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1863-1870; Surgeon, Hudson's Bay Company at Victoria, 1863; elected to the Legislative Council of British Columbia for Victoria/Esquimalt, 1866; re-elected to the Legislative Council, 1868; one of three negotiators at Ottawa to negotiate British Columbia's entry into Canada; appointed to the Executive Council of British Columbia, 1869; retired from politics, 1871; continued practicing medicine as physician to the jail until retiring, 1910; President, British Columbia Medical Association, 1885; died, 1920. Publications include: The reminiscences of Doctor John Sebastian Helmcken edited by Dorothy Blakey Smith (University of British Columbia Press [1975]); To the electors of Esquimalt and Metchosin District. gentlemen, the Legislative Assembly has been dissolved, a general election will shortly ensue [1863?]; To the electors of Esquimalt and Metchosin District. fellow colonists having received an address signed by several of the electors in our district, requesting me again to become a candidate for your suffrage etc [1863?].

Archival history

Acquired by Guy's Hospital Medical School Library

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred from Guy's Hospital Medical School Library in 2002.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers of John Sebastian Helmcken, comprising manuscript volume of notes taken on anatomy and surgery lectures, November 1847, in the back of the volume. 85 folios; Notebook inscribed 'Helmcken, Guy's Hospital' attributed to John Sebastian Helmcken, student at Guy's 1845-1847, containing manuscript notes on lectures and medical subjects, 134 ff, with loose notes in same hand, with titles: rheumatic gout, pericarditis, and senses, 8ff; Notebook inscribed 'This book was done by W Helmcken at Mr [Strauss] academy, Charles Strs, London, Oct 5, 1842', containing manuscript notes and examples of mathematical rules for the measurement of flooring, partitioning, roofing and tiling, bricklaying, timber measure, boards and planks, square measure, round timber and Bricklaying. In the back of the volume are manuscript case notes for patients in Guy's Hospital wards, containing description of symptoms, treatment and progress of the case, [1845]; Newspaper cutting of article 'Historic home bought by government', the Daily Colonist , Victoria, British Colombia, 23 Jul 1939, reporting the purchase by the Province of a house built in 1852, by Dr John Sebastian Helmcken (1834-1920), surgeon, and statesman.

System of arrangement

As outlined in scope and content

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Detailed catalogue

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Description control

Archivist's Note

Sources: Website of Helmcken House, Victoria, B.C.; British Library Public on-line catalogue. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

March 2002. Revised March 2003; June 2004

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  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Building operations
  • Construction engineering
  • Medical sciences
  • Surgery

Personal names

  • Helmcken, John Sebastian, 1824-1920, Physician
  • Helmcken, W, fl 1842

Corporate names

  • Guy's Hospital, London
  • King's College London College Archives

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