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British Medical Association

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 SA/BMA
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: British Medical Association
Date(s): 1888-1988
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 301 boxes, 26 large boxes
Name of creator(s): British Medical Association


Administrative/Biographical history:

Foundation of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association. 19 Jul 1832; the Eastern Medical Association is the first branch to open, Sep 1835; Monmouthshire (first Welsh branch) opens, 1852; name changes to the British Medical Association, 1856; the Medical Act is passed. Establishment of the General Medical Council and the Medical Register, 1858; first appointment of the Parliamentary Bills Committee, 1863; South of Ireland Branch opens, 1874; Association registered as a company limited by guarantee, 1974; Edinburgh (first Scottish branch) opens, 1875; first overseas branch in Jamica opens, 1877; the Medical Act is passed, 1886; National Health Insurance Bill, 1911; Medical Planning Commission set up to consider the future of British medical services, 1940; Commission publishes its report, Jun 1942; Beveridge report published, Dec 1942; Government publishes its White Paper 'A National Health Service', Feb 1944; Negotiating Committee set up under the chairmanship of Dr Guy Dain to negotiate with the coalition Government, 1945; 7 principles announced - these had to be adhered to if the proposed national health service was to gain professional support, 15 Dec 1945; publication of the National Health Services Bill, 20 Mar 1946; National Health Services Bill passed, 6 Nov 1946; NHS came into being, 5 Jul 1948; appointment of the Royal (Pilkington) Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, 1957; report of the Medical Services Review Committee published (Porritt Report), 1962; report of the committee set up to review the future of general practice (committee set up in 1961), 1963; publication of the Government’s Green Papers on the structure of the Health Service in England and Wales and Scotland, 1968; branches are abolished and replaced by Regional Councils, 1973-1974.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the British Medical Association compring files [1915-1960], from the following subject series: Medico-Political, Science, Groups, Ethics, Public Health, Hospitals, Organisation. Also incomplete set of copy minutes of Council, Committees and of the Annual Representatives' Meetings and Special Representatives' Meetings, [1907-1982].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged by section as follows:
A Organisation (of BMA)
B Groups
C Medico-political
D Ethics
E Hospitals
F Public Health
G Science
H Miscellaneous
J Minutes and associated documents

Conditions governing access:

The collection contains material of a sensitive nature. The entire collection is restricted until 01/01/2089. Please consult Archives and Manuscripts for access to the collection.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

The catalogue to this collection has not yet been fully converted to electronic form. For detail, see the hard-copy listing available in the Wellcome Library.

Collection level description available on-line on the Wellcome Library website

The BMA Registry Files 1901-1970s held in the BMA Archive are now listed. A copy of this list is available for consultation by application to Archives and Manuscripts.

The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

Archival Information

Archival history:

The British Medical Association offered sections A - H of the archive to the Wellcome Institute (now the Wellcome Library) pending development of the gallery of the Great Hall of BMA House, Tavistock Square, where the files were mainly stored. A preliminary survey identified that the records represented a very incomplete set of registry files, and from these a number were selected for transfer to the Wellcome Institute. The files were transferred in June 1984. The BMA itself retained a number of files including those relating to the negotiations surrounding the NHS in the 1940s. Section J consists of duplicate volumes of minutes and other papers generated by the BMA, and transferred to the Wellcome by the Registry of the British Medical Association in 4 accessions, Apr and Aug 1990, Jun and Aug 1992. The reason for gaps in certain series is that there appears to be only one copy of the minutes in existence, which is thus still held by the BMA Registry. Some additional duplicate minutes were received in September 1992 and have also been added to Section J.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library:

For related collections in Archives and Manuscripts see sources leaflets on: Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco; Alternative Medicine; Australasia; Birth Control; British Local History: General; Eyes, Ears, Teeth, Feet; Disabilities; The Great War, 1914-1918; Health Education/Promotion; Health tourism; Hospitals: Policy, History, etc; London; Maritime medicine; Medical Charities; Medical Education; Medical Ethics: Professional relations; Medical Ethics: Various issues; Mothers and Babies; Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting; Occupational Health and Medicine; Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, Psychological Medicine; Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis: (2) Institutions; Nutrition; Hospitals; Public Health; Radiology, Radiotherapy and Radiobiology; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Social Work; South Asia; Southern Africa; War, Medicine, and Health after 1918; Women in Medicine.

Records held in the BMA archive:

Records of the organisation, including minutes, other committee papers, subject and correspondence files. Also records of other organisations that had links with the BMA, including the Commonwealth Medical Association and the Local Medical Committee for the County of London. Some branch files and private papers have also been deposited.

Records held elsewhere:

Norfolk Record Office: annual representative meeting local organising committee minutes, 1988 (Reference RR/RF)
Branch records held elsewhere as follows:
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service: North Bedfordshire division
Bedfordshire, minute books, correspondence, membership lists, 1943-70 (Reference X 764)
Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle Headquarters: Border Counties branch, Cumberland, minutes and papers, 1906-73
Cumbria Record Office, Kendal: Westmorland branch, Cumbria, records, 1903-75
Dundee University Archives: Dundee branch, Dundee, Angus, minutes and papers, 1892-1918 (Reference MS 61)
East Sussex Record Office: Brighton branch, Brighton, Sussex, records, 1911-50 (Reference 4172); Sussex branch, Sussex, minutes, 1911-56 (Reference : BMA)
Glamorgan Record Office: South Wales and Monmouthshire branch, records, 1871-1979
National Library of Wales: South Wales and Monmouthshire branch, records, 1903-75
Norfolk Record Office: East Anglia branch, minutes, 1873-75 (Reference SO56); East Norfolk branch, Norfolk, minutes, 1916-71 (Reference SO56); Norfolk branch, minutes, 1919-74 (Reference SO56); Norwich branch, Norwich, Norfolk, minutes, 1936-78 (Reference SO56)
Sheffield Archives, Sheffield division, Sheffield, Yorkshire, minutes, 1909-56
Southampton University Library: Wessex branch, minutes and papers, 1906-73
Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch: Ipswich branch, Ipswich, Suffolk, minutes and accounts of finance sub-committee, 1900 (Reference ID401/1/10/1)
Suffolk Record Office, Lowestoft Branch: North Suffolk branch, Suffolk, minutes, 1936-71
Lancashire Record Office: Lancaster division, Lancaster, Lancashire, minutes, 1903-1930 (Reference DDX 2192)
Tyne and Wear Archives Service: North of England branch, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, records, 1903-73 (Reference Acc 2089)
West Glamorgan Archive Service: Swansea division, Swansea, West Glamorgan, minute books, 1903-1982 (Reference D/D BMA S/1-7); emergency committee minute book, 1939-1948 (Reference D.238)
Warrington Library: Warrington branch, Warrington, Lancashire, minutes, 1903-45.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

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