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

Records relating to the founding of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 A1
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Records relating to the founding of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Date(s): 1926-1935
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 3 boxes; 1 volume; 1 bundle
Name of creator(s): Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) was founded in 1929 following collaboration between William Blair-Bell, who became the first president, and William Fletcher Shaw, the first honorary secretary. Prior to 1929 England had two distinguished medical Royal colleges, the Royal College of Physicians of London (founded 1518) and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (founded 1800). The three Scottish medical royal colleges had all been founded by the end of the seventeenth century. The RCOG was the first to represent a speciality other than medicine and surgery. It was followed in due course by the establishment of the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners, Radiologists, Pathologists, Psychiatrists, Ophthalmologists, Anaesthetists and Paediatricians.

The College is a professional membership association with charitable status and is concerned with all matters relating to the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. The main purpose is to act as the examination body for doctors wanting to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology and then as a membership organisation to those who pass the examination. It is a self-funded and independent body. The College operates through a system of committees, serviced by the College departments.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the founding of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, comprising records relating to the early years of the College, particularly to Blair-Bell's presidency (1929-1932). Many of them are clearly Blair-Bell's own papers; A1/13, for instance, is a file of correspondence made after Blair-Bell had resigned from all College committees.

The records comprise: minutes of Executive Committee meetings, 1926-1929;

Blair-Bell's correspondence, concerning the establishment of a college, including proposed alterations to the articles of association, suggested members and initial plans for finance, 1927-1928; development of the College in the Dominions, including election of fellows and members, annual subscription charges and plans for a round table conference, 1929-1932; establishment of the first full Council, including nominations for selection, alterations to the articles of association and function of the honorary officers, 1929; correspondence and papers relating to Council, including his remarks to the general meeting, the agenda for the first full Council meeting, report of the Council, details of membership of standing committees and aims and objectives of the college, 1929-1931;

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

There is no apparent order; the papers appear to have simply been numbered as they were first listed.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is vested in the College.

Finding aids:

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

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were apparently preserved and brought together for their historical value at the time of the College's move to Sussex Place in 1960. It is possible that some of the files in this class were sent to the College after Blair-Bell's death by his executor, M E Nockolds.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

RCOG holds other papers relating to the founding of the College and Blair-Bell's presidency (Ref: A2, H3/1-13, H4/1 and S34); collections of Blair-Bell's personal papers (Ref: S1, S10, S14, S18 and S21/1); papers relating to his history of the foundation of the College (Ref: S33); correspondence relating to the deposit of some Blair-Bell papers (Ref: A10/14); photographs of Blair-Bell and related memorabilia (ref: PH1); photographs relating to the early history of the College (Ref: PH15); video of a 1932 film about Blair-Bell (Ref: R5/1); papers relating to his death, funeral and estate (Ref: A4/1, A4/4/7, H1, S20 and S28/2-5); records relating to the Blair-Bell Memorial Fellowships (Ref: E10/1) and of the Blair-Bell Memorial Lecture (Ref: E10/17/2 and E10/30-31); letters concerning Blair-Bell's entry in the publication Lives of the Fellows (Ref: S44).

Some of Blair-Bell's notebooks and casebooks are held in the RCOG Library.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
September 2002