Many of the items represented in the collection were carried by the general practitioner doing house calls which were much more common up until the mid to late twentieth century. 

Sturdy wide-mouthed Gladstone bags, were typically used from the mid-nineteenth century onwards as their design enabled safe transportation of equipment and medications and easy access to the contents during visits and emergencies.

General practitioners making house calls needed to be prepared for anything from childbirth, infectious diseases, poisonings, broken bones, injuries sometimes necessitating amputation and a range of minor surgical procedures.