RepositorySt Bartholomew's Hospital Archives & Museum
TitleRecords of the Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital
Admin HistoryThe first record of medical students working within St Bartholomew's Hospital occurs in 1662, when the Governors gave orders that "young gentlemen or doctors or practitioners" should seek permission if they wished to be in attendance when the Hospital's Physicians were prescribing. The Surgeons also had pupils, and the first students often bound themselves to their teachers by means of an apprenticeship agreement. They received most of their education by attending in the wards and following Surgeons at their work, a practice which later became known as "walking the wards" of the Hospital. Physicians at that time would usually have learned their craft by means of a University degree, but with less opportunity for practical work. In 1734 the Governors for the first time gave consent for any of the Surgeons or Assistant Surgeons "to read lectures in anatomy in the dissecting-room of the Hospital", although permission was withdrawn in 1735. Hospital staff offered lectures to pupils privately before this time, often in their own homes, and continued to do so until the 1780s. In 1767 the Physicians and Surgeons again approached the Governors, who agreed to allow the reading of lectures in a room adjoining the operating theatre in the newly-built East Wing.

In 1791 the Governors agreed to the request of the surgeon John Abernethy for a purpose-built lecture theatre to be constructed within the Hospital. A theatre was built between Long Row and what was then Windmill Court, behind the West Wing, to the design of George Dance. It was variously known as the "Surgeons' Theatre", the "Medical Theatre" and the "Anatomical Theatre", and lectures were given there by Abernethy (on anatomy, physiology and surgery), John Latham (on medicine), Richard Powell (on chemistry) and others. The theatre was rebuilt, on the same site but with an enlarged capacity, in 1822. The efforts of Abernethy also persuaded the Governors to pass a resolution giving formal support to the provision of medical education within the Hospital. This recognition by the Governors and the rebuilding of the lecture theatre are generally regarded as marking the foundation of the Medical School in 1822. Further accommodation in Long Row was acquired by the School in the course of the nineteenth century. A theatre for chemical lectures was built at the southern end of Long Row, and in the 1830s a new museum and library were constructed, with a further theatre for lectures on materia medica and botany.

In Abernethy's time, and for some years afterwards, a student decided his own curriculum, attending lectures as he wished, besides walking the wards. If he preferred, he could choose to attend lectures at several different hospitals or private medical schools. At Bart's, as elsewhere, students paid no lecture fees to the Hospital, but could purchase admission tickets to as many individual courses as they wished to attend. Each lecturer sold tickets for his own courses. At the end of a course a certificate of attendance might be granted to those who had completed it. Certificates of "hospital practice" were also issued, to students who had attended regularly in the wards. After Abernethy's death in 1831 the School began to decline, as no member of the medical staff was prepared to take responsibility for administering it, or for offering guidance to the students in the development of their studies.

Until 1843 students had to arrange their own accommodation, but in that year the Governors founded a residential college to allow the students residence within the walls of the Hospital. The residential quarters occupied a row of houses on the west side of Duke Street (now called Little Britain). The first Warden of the College was James Paget, who had already distinguished himself by his discovery of the parasitic worm trichinella spiralis while still a student at the age of 21. As Warden, Paget soon found himself directing the studies not only of the residents, but also of those students who lived outside. Paget's dedication to this task quickly re-established the prestige of the School, and the Wardens became in effect the administrators of the School and the keepers of its accounts. In 1850 Paget was largely responsible for the welcome which Bart's extended to Elizabeth Blackwell, who had just become the first qualified female medical practitioner. From May 1850 until July 1851 she was the first, and only, female student in the Medical School at St Bartholomew's. After her departure, however, a more conservative outlook prevailed and for many years any suggestion that female students should be admitted to Bart's was met with strenuous resistance. Women students continued to be prohibited until 1947.

Until 1892 the regulations of the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Surgeons required four years' study for a professional qualification, of which only thirty months had to be spent at a hospital medical school. After 1892 five years' study became the norm. By 1900 the winter sessions at St Bartholomew's offered lectures, classes and demonstrations in the different branches of medicine, surgery, anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, pathology and bacteriology. The summer session provided tuition in forensic, ophthalmic and psychological medicine, materia medica and pharmacology, midwifery and public health. The fee for five years of study was 150 guineas, if paid in one sum on entrance, or 160 guineas if paid in four annual instalments. As early as 1839 the teaching at the Medical School had been recognised by the University of London in admitting candidates for medical degrees. In 1900 the School became one of the constituent colleges of the University, but it remained a voluntary association of teachers in the hospital with no legal status of its own until after the First World War. A new post of Dean was created in 1904. In 1919 Medical and Surgical Professorial Units were established, in anticipation of a formal alteration to the status of the School. The Units aimed to bridge the gap between training, practical medicine and surgery, and the academic world of scientific research. It was a condition of University recognition that the Units were provided with their own research laboratories. The School and the Hospital were formally separated in 1921, when the School was incorporated with a new title, the Medical College of St Bartholomew's Hospital in the City of London.

In 1933-1934 the Medical College purchased the site of the former Merchant Taylors' School in Charterhouse Square. This acquisition enabled it to re-house the pre-clinical departments, which were previously in cramped quarters on the west side of Giltspur Street. In the Second World War, however, the college suffered badly. Most of the buildings on the Charterhouse Square site were damaged or destroyed, and on the Smithfield site the buildings in Long Row were also wrecked. At the outbreak of war pre-clinical students were evacuated to Queen's College, Cambridge, while clinical teaching was divided between St Bartholomew's and its two evacuation sites, Hill End Hospital at St Alban's and Friern Hospital, New Southgate. The pre-clinical school returned to London in 1946, but the rebuilding of the Charterhouse Square site was not completed until 1963. The Robin Brook Centre for Medical Education was opened in June 1980. In the 1960s the College acquired its first regular peacetime teaching facilities outside Bart's when seventy general medical beds were made available to it at St Leonard's Hospital. After the establishment of the City and Hackney Health District in 1974 it became possible for all students to receive part of their training at several other hospitals within the District. This acquisition enabled it to re-house the pre-clinical departments, which were previously in cramped quarters on the west side of Giltspur Street.

Following the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Medical Education in 1968, a close association with the London Hospital Medical College was developed, and a number of joint academic departments were established. At the same time, a link with Queen Mary College (later Queen Mary and Westfield) was begun, with the aim that eventually students would take their two-year pre-clinical course at Queen Mary College before going on to study at St Bartholomew's or the Royal London. In 1989 the pre-clinical teaching of the London Hospital Medical College merged with that of St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School as the Central and East London Confederation (CELC). It was re-sited at the Basic Medical Sciences Building at Queen Mary & Westfield College, Mile End, and the first intake of students entered the new pre-clinical school in 1990. Following the recommendations of the Tomlinson Report (1992) and the governmental response to it (Making London Better, 1993), the Medical Colleges of the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital were united with Queen Mary & Westfield College in December 1995. The medical school is now known as Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is part of Queen Mary, University of London.
DescriptionRecords of St Bartholomew's Medical School, later College, from its formal beginnings in the 19th century up until the College's merger with The London Hospital Medical College and Queen Mary & Westfield College in 1995.

Section A comprises material relating to administration, governance, policy and planning, chiefly core institutional records such as minutes of Annual General Meetings of the College Governors, a full set of Annual Reports of the College Council (1921-1994), minutes and papers of College Council and College Committee, and minutes of other committees including the Medical Officers and Lecturers (later Medical Committee), Executive, Finance, Discipline, Research, Journal Publication and Prizes. Four volumes of Warden's papers provide an insight into day-to-day management of the College between 1874 and 1894. Series SBHMS/A/20 contains material on the background to formal separation from the Hospital, drafting of the College Charter of Incorporation (1921) and subsequent revisions up to 1993. The Medical College's relationship with the University of London and the University Grants Committee is documented in series SBHMS/A/23-24 as well as subsequent records series relating to 'the BLQ Project'. Series SBHMS/A/25-30 provide an in-depth account of 'BLQ' developments and events commencing from the Todd Report in 1968 to full merger in 1995.

The College's acquisition of premises in Charterhouse Square in the 1930s and the fate of College buildings during the Second World War are vividly documented in a number of Dean's files in Section B (SBHMS/B/2-3). The section also contains material on new College buildings such as the Robin Brook Centre for Medical Education (opened 1980) and aborted plans to re-develop the Goswell Road and Clerkenwell Road parts of Charterhouse Square in the 1980s and early 1990s. Material concerning college accommodation and catering 1895-1954 is listed under SBHMS/B/1, including two enthusiastically completed 'complaints' or 'suggestions' books.

Material concerning College finances is listed under Section F, including sporadic income and expenditure, cash payments and general accounts ledgers, 1879-1952, annual accounts and balance sheets, 1892-1995 (not inclusive), student fees books, 1862-1953, and information on staff wages and salaries, c.1924-1949. Series SBHMS/F/6 contains files on bequests, trust funds and deeds for various prizes and scholarships awarded by the Medical College.

Academic provision and curriculum development of the Medical College is represented in Section E, notably in the College Calendars or Handbooks covering 1835-1975. These contain comprehensive information and guidance on each prospective and past academic session (SBHMS/E/1) and are supplemented by student prospectuses 1900-1920s and 1983-1995 (SBHMS/E/6). Boards of Study for the management, finance, staffing and curriculum of separate departments were established in by the College from 1905 (SBHMS/E/4). The archive includes volumes of the Boards of Study in Anatomy Pathology, Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Preliminary Sciences, Medicine, Pre-Clinical Studies, Surgery, Pharmacology, Anaesthetics, and later Community Health and Child Health. High level aspects of departmental administration are also, sporadically, recorded in series SBHMS/E/5, notably the Dean's files on the departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Chemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology and Virology, 1950s-1980s.

Series SBHMS/E/9 comprises records of the College Library, which had its origins in the Medical Society of St Bartholomew's Hospital, dating from 1828. It includes a full set of Library Committee minutes 1828-1978, catalogues of the library's collection in the 19th century, records of acquisitions, accounts and loan log books.
Records relating to the College's teaching arrangements and facilities, including with other local hospitals in East and North East London in the second half of the 20th century are listed under SBHMS/E/10. Opportunities for clinical research at Barts are documented in series SBHMS/E/11.

Numerous prize and scholarship schemes operated in the Medical College. Series SBHMS/E/2 comprises a large series of files relating to the terms of each award, administration and awardees, supplementing the material in sections F and A (bequests and trust funds and Prizes Sub-Committee, respectively). Records of student entries for prizes have generally not survived, apart from a series of surgical case reports by applicants and winners of the Bentley Prize 1847-1874 (SBHMS/E/2/3/1). Other student work is catalogued under SBHMS/SW in a series of lecture and study notes, based on lectures by eminent medics such as John Abernethy, Dr William Hunter, Percival Pott, Astley Cooper and Edward Stanley. These date between 1750 and 1840 and were largely created before the Medical School of St Bartholomew's Hospital was formally constituted.

SBHMS/E/12 comprises six dissection registers covering 1832-1964. These record personal details of bodies dissected by students of the Medical College and often contain the cause of death and the local provenance of the body - mostly workhouses and infirmaries/hospitals, asylums and occasionally prisons.

Records of students of the Medical College, 1807-1996, are catalogued under Section S. Included are Medical Student Registers, 1906-1938 (SBHMS/S/2), microfiche copies of medical student files, c.1935-1993 (SBHMS/S/3), and record cards and record sheets of medical students, 1983-1996, (SBHMS/S/7), which contain details of application, entry, subjects studied, sessions attended, prizes won, clinical appointments and examinations passed. Also surviving are student signature books, 1842-1936, registers of attendance, 1861-1905, examination results and registers of qualification, 1882-1995. Series SBHMS/S/10 records the applications and names of House Appointments from post-War to the early 1970s. An insight into overseas students at the Medical College 1930-1970 is provided by files in SBHMS/S/11. Student records containing personal information under 100 years old are subject to restrictions on access under Data Protection Act regulations.

Student recreation and leisure is covered by section SBHMS/SU, including records of the Students Union from 1911 to 1995 and its predecessor at the Medical College which was known as the Amalgamated Clubs, c.1892-1912. Year books, student handbooks and student magazines give an indication of medical student life and culture and how it changed during the 20th century. Of particular interest are records generated by various student clubs and associations that were formed in the Medical College (SBHMS/SU/9). Some of these records were previously catalogued under the St Bartholomew's Hospital archive fond and unfortunately much has not survived. However, it does now include records of the football, rugby, hockey, rowing and rifle clubs and non-sporting groups such as the Christian Union, Drama Society, Musical Society, Wine Committee and Smoking Concert Club. Former Barts students kept in touch via Old Student Dinners (SBHMS/SU/7/2) and Decennial Clubs (SBHMS/SU/9/20). The first of the Decennial Clubs was formed in 1832 by former students of John Abernethy. The archive contains records of some subsequent clubs up to the 13th Decennial Club which was formed from students at the Medical College between 1934 and 1948.

Records relating to staff matters and personnel of the Medical College, both academic and administrative, are listed in Section SBHMS/SP. Whilst there are no formal personnel files, there is a large series of Dean's files on appointments to Professorships, Chairs and Readerships 1945-1996 (SBHMS/SP/2), and correspondence concerning appointments of the President, Vice President and Treasurer, Dean, Sub-Dean, Warden, College Governors, College Council and Executive Committee, 1940s-1990s (SBHMS/SP/1).

Section SHBMS/P comprises the major Medical College publications. These are a complete set of the St Bartholomew's Hospital Journal, 1893-1998, including wartime and commemorative issues; the short-lived Clinical and Research Supplement of the Journal, 1963-1968; St Bartholomew's Hospital Reports, 1865-1939. As well as containing articles by Hospital staff and former students the Reports also include updates on the Abernethian Society, Paget Club, lists of past students and student prize winners, lists of lecturers and demonstrators of the Medical College.

The archive contains a small section of miscellaneous pictorial material (SBHMS/P), including photographs of eminent Medical College staff (many of whom were also staff of the Hospital), lecture theatres, laboratories and teaching museums, visits of the Prince of Wales to the college in the 1920s and 1930s and an album marking the end of the Medical College and Merger with The London and Queen Mary 1995-1996. A scrap book of caricatures, photographs and ephemera (probably) compiled by William Morrant Baker, former pupil and lecturer at the college, and surgeon at the Hospital, includes fine caricatures of various eminent 19th century Medical College staff.
Access StatusOpen
Access_ConditionsSome material in the archive is Restricted under the Data Protection Act 1998 and / or as it comprises sensitive and/or personal information. See individual section level descriptions for further information.
Related_MaterialRecords of the Medical College museum, now known as Barts Pathology Museum, 1832-1945 (including catalogues of specimens in the Museum, 1831-1945; descriptions and case histories of specimens in the Museum, [1832-1945]) are catalogued as part of the main hospital collection, with the reference SBHB/MU.

For records of the Medical School following the merger with the London Hospital Medical College under Queen Mary and Westfield College (later Queen Mary, University of London), see RLHMD - Records of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
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