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Museum Committee, Pathology Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 RCOG/B10
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: Museum Committee, Pathology Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee
Date(s): 1938-2006
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 71 boxes, 10 volumes
Name of creator(s): Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists


Administrative/Biographical history:

The College Museum was established in 1938 to collect and display pathological specimens and surgical and obstetrical instruments. From 1988, following the transfer of most specimens to other hospitals, the museum's role was confined to the displaying of instruments. The museum was disbanded in 1999. The Museum Committee was established in 1945 to administer the College Museum. In 1949 it changed its name to the Pathology Committee. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) was set up in 1950. Its terms of reference were as follows:
- to examine suggestions put forward for research.
- to advise Council on methods by which items of particular research could be carried out and to nominate, if necessary, ad hoc committees for the purpose.
- to advise Council on priority of any particular items of research.

In the 1950's the membership of the Pathology Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee is listed in the annual reports as if they were co-extensive, and Pathology Committee meetings are noted in their minutes as taking place immediately after Scientific Advisory Committee meetings. In July 1966 the two committees were amalgamated, and henceforth were known as the Scientific Advisory and Pathology Committee (SAPC). The word Pathology was dropped from the committee title in April 1984. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), as it is now known, is currently serviced by the College's Clinical Governance and Standards Department and reports to the Standards Board. Its broad remit encompasses both basic and clinical science, including health services research. In 2008 it was defined as follows:
- To 'Horizon scan' and debate relevant scientific issues, including future developments of relevance to the specialty.
- To produce regular news items and/or opinion papers for the membership.
- To contribute to College responses on national policies and direction.
- To react to requests for scientific advice from Officers, committees, working parties and Fellows/Members of the College.
- To advise Officers and appropriate committees about future national and international scientific and clinical meetings and study groups.

The College's Rare Tumour Registry was established in 1951 by agreement between the College and the governors of Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospitals. The Registry was to be located at the Chelsea Hospital for Women under the direction of the College's Pathology/Scientific Advisory Committee. A Registry for Diseases of the Trophoblast was established in 1961, and was administered as a subdivision of the Rare Tumour Registry. The word 'Rare' was dropped in 1964. In 1970 an Ovarian Tumour Panel was established and a renewed effort to register cases of hydatidiform mole was instituted. However, in 1973 the Tumour Registry was formally disbanded, except for the registration of cases of hydatidiform mole, which continued until circa 1988 (the Ovarian Tumour Panel was disbanded circa 1985). The registrar of the Tumour Registry was Magnus Haines (1909-1978). The registry for diseases of the trophoblast was organised by W W Parks and the prime mover on the Ovarian Tumour Panel was A D T Govan.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' Scientific Advisory Committee including: minute books of the Committee, its predecessors and sub-committees (1962-1996); minutes and papers (1965-2004); subject files and related papers (1959-1999); papers of the Committee chairmen (1978-1987); opinion papers (2001-2006).

Also contains: papers from the College Secretary on the Museum and Pathology Committees (1946-1966); minutes, papers, correspondence, questionnaires and returns of the Artificial Insemination Committee (1977-1991); agenda, minutes, papers and correspondence of the Fetal and Perinatal Pathology Sub-Committee (1984-1987); correspondence and papers of the Fetal Viability Working Party (1983-1988); agenda, minutes, papers and correspondence from the Working Party on Cervical Cytology Screening (1985-1988); minutes, papers, reports and correspondence from the Sub-Committee on problems with AIDS in relation to Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1986-1992); minutes, papers and reports from the Advisory Group on depo provera (1980-1984); papers of the Working Party on Biochemical Markers and detection of Downs Syndrome (1992); correspondence, papers and minutes from assorted sub-committees and working parties (1950-1999); reports and papers regarding research awards and scientific studies (1954-1999). Records and other materials of both the College Museum and the Rare Tumour Registry are to be found among these series; the Museum and Rare Tumour Registry were administered concurrently and the surviving records and other materials are intertwined. These include photographs of exhibits, glass slides (1938-1976), confidential case notes, visitors books, registers and records of the museum curators (1938-1999). The files and administrative records of the Tumour Registry date from 1948-1985.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As set out above in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

These records are closed because they contain information about planning and policy.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

An alphabetical list of founder Members is available from the College Archivist. This is list has been copied from the first Annual Report 1929-1930 and there is also a copy from the fifth Annual Report 1934.

The College Archives holds card indexes of deceased and living MRCOG holders between 1929 and 1998. The indexes note the date of admission to the MRCOG.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Several early catalogues were not transferred and are no longer extant.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Primarily transferred to the Archives by the SAPC/SAC secretary and the honorary curator of the Museum; some files transferred by the College Secretary were also apparently placed in this series because of their relevant subject matter. Other records (primarily copies of publications) have come from the President's Office and the Deputy College Secretary's Office. There is little surviving documentation on transfers of records before the mid-1990s.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Imported from the RCOG catalogue and edited by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
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.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Import: Oct 2008; edit: Feb 2009.

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