AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0113 RCP
Held at: Royal College of Physicians
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1518-2002
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Name of creator(s): Royal College of Physicians of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The College of Physicians was founded by Royal Charter in 1518 after a small group of distinguished physicians led by Thomas Linacre petitioned the King to be incorporated into a College similar to those found in a number of other European countries. The main functions of the College as set down in the founding Charter, were to grant licences to those qualified to practise medicine and to punish unqualified practitioners and those engaing in malpractice. Membership comprises Fellows, Licentiates and from 1859 Members. Membership is by examination, Fellowship by invitation after recommendation by an existing Fellow.


Scope and content/abstract:

The College's official archives contain historical material relating to all aspects of its activities as a professional body of physicians, from the sixteenth century to the present. A summary list follows:

Legal documents
Charters 1518, 1565, 1656, 1657, 1663, 1673, 1674, 1683, 1688, 1721
Statutes and byelaws (printed and manuscript) 1607-1986
Grant of arms 1546
Trust deeds 1582, 1656
Legal papers and other records re constitution and privileges of the College 1607-1899

Proceedings of the College
Annals, i.e. record of proceedings of the College and minutes of Comitia, 1555-1572 (with retrospective entries from 1518), 1581-1995
Minutes of Elects 1809-1823
Council minutes 1836-1995

College business
Lists (mainly printed; some manuscript) of Fellows 1681-date, Licentiates 1681-1925 and Members 1858-1985
Examination papers (printed) 1838-1972
Papers re Conjoint Board scheme with Royal College of Surgeons 1859-1924
Papers re proceedings against unlicensed practice and improper use of medical titles 1608-1920
Records of Censors' visitations of apothecaries' shops 1724-1856
Papers re cases of professional misconduct 1859-1916

College land and property
Evidences of title 1510-1865
Lease book 17th century-1860
Papers re College buildings 1670-1986
Other estate records 1694-1915

Finance records
Finance Committee minutes 1855-1991
Accounts and financial papers 1664-1950

Minutes, reports and papers - general medicine
Minutes and papers of committees on anatomical nomenclature 1911, beriberi 1908-1909, London university 1889-1899, maternal mortality 1929-1930, medical reform and examinations 1844-1860, nomenclature of diseases 1867-1917, quarantine 1889 and tuberculosis 1933-7
Papers of committees on vaccination 1806-7 and 1871, including replies to vaccination enquiry 1806-7
Papers of committee on leprosy 1858-1898, including replies to leprosy questionnaire 1858-1864
Replies to questionnaire on health and climate of foreign countries 1829-1831
Reports and papers on hospitals and medical facilities overseas 1837-1920
Reports and papers on plague chiefly in Asia 1876-1910
Observations on influenza epidemic 1782-1783

Minutes, reports and papers - pharmacology
Minutes of pharmacopoeia revision committee 1806-1809 and Hospital physicians' committee on materia medica 1809-1813
Agreements and papers re College pharmacopoeia 1720-1830
Papers re Chelsea physic garden 1722, 1890-1899
Correspondence and papers re Oxford physic garden and Sherardian professorship of botany at Oxford 1733-1886

Other committee minutes and papers 1682-1698, 1830-20th century

Registrar's letter books 1814-1824, 1850, 1894-1898

Lectures and prizes
Correspondence and papers re College lectures 1694-1982
Texts of lectures (printed and manuscript) 1661-1992, incomplete
Texts of presidential addresses (printed and manuscript) 1882-1988, incomplete
Correspondence and papers re medals, prizes and scholarships 1866-1991
Papers re College dinners and receptions 1759-1971
Papers re anniversaries 1872-1978

Library, museum and art collection
Library Committee minutes 1846, 1860-1983
Library records 1664-1983
Museum Curators' minutes 1821-1938
Museum records 1818-1938
Papers re College's works of art, paintings, busts, silver etc. 1805-1963

Records of Fellows Club 1872-1939 and College Club 1929-1966

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Restricted access

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copy permission on application to Archivist. Copyright is held by the Royal College of Physicians of London

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Cathy Thornton.

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
Compiled 20 Oct 2000; modified 15 Mar 2001, 14 Jan 2002

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"