The manuscript contains notes from lectures on surgical diseases given by Sir Charles Bell (1774-1842) at the Middlesex Hospital, which cover folios 3 to 153, and reports of a number of cases seen in the Middlesex Hospital in addition to items of copied correspondence, which cover folios 159 to 185 and can be read when the volume is turned upside down.
Notes on the inside front cover indicate that the manuscript was acquired by the Manchester Medical Society in 1873 and was subsequently allocated the reference O 6231 viz. their 1890 library catalogue. There is also a letter attached to the verso of f.2 written by the creator of the manuscript and addressed to 'Bennett' in which he gives him this copy of Bell's lectures as a token of his gratitude for an unknown reason.
The pages of Bell's lectures are inconsistently numbered 1-199, there is no index and none of the lectures are individually numbered or dated. Clear subject headings, however, are given throughout and indicate that the following subjects are addressed: inflammation (constitutional symptoms, treatment, termination); abscess (distinctions of pus, formation, termination, chronic abscess); ulcers (structure, granulation, connection with the system, treatment, indolent ulcer, scrofulous ulcer, phagedenic ulcer, scorbutic ulcer, ulcers of the legs); erysipelas; carbuncle; hospital gangrene; burns & scalds; scrofula [tuberculosis, lymph node]; deformity from habit of wrong position (twist of the neck, curvature of the spine, disease of the bodies of the vertebrae, distortion from disease in the muscles, distortion in the foot from a sinking of the bones, abscess or spina ventosa [tuberculous dactylitis], necrosis, exotosis, osteous sarcoma [osteochondroma], osteous steatoma, aneurysm of a bone); diseases of the joints (bursa mucosa [bursa, synovial], ganglia, hydrops articuli [hydrarthrosis], loose cartilage, scrofulous inflammation, hip disease, white swelling); syphilis (symptoms, treatment, mortification of the penis); bubo; diseases of the urethra (obstruction of urine, inflammation, stricture, gonorrhoea); fistula in perineo; puncture of the bladder; disease of the prostate (inflammatory & chronic enlargement, treatment); foreign bodies obstructing respiration (tracheotomy, inflammation of the larynx, stricture of the oesophagus); stricture of the prepuce; fistula in ano [rectal fistula]; prolapsus ani [rectal prolapse]; piles [haemorrhoids]; tumours [neoplasms]; military surgery (sabre wound, punctured wound, lacerated wound, penetrating wound, gun-shot wound, treatment, gun-shot fracture, cases for amputation, wounds of the head, wounds of the cheek, suicide, wounds of the fore-part of the neck, wounds of the chest, wounds of the abdomen, penetrating wounds of the belly).
In total there are 8 cases reported in the rear of the volume, which include both men and women and both children and adults. The complaints include curvature of the spine, a broken leg, ganglion, concussion, fracture of the thigh, pain and swelling of the leg, stricture of the urethra, and a limp. The copied correspondence that follows recounts a number of midwifery and obstetric cases between the creator of the manuscript and William Dalziel (c.1792-1837) of Wigtown dated to early 1816.