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Fothergill Club

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1538 S63
Held at: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
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Full title: Fothergill Club
Date(s): 1957-2000
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 volume, 86 files
Name of creator(s): Fothergill Club


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Fothergill Club was named after the eminent gynaecologist, William Edward Fothergill (1865-1926). WE Fothergill himself had been a teacher and Professor of Obstetrics at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester, after completing his medical degree at Edinburgh in 1893. He modified Archibald Donald's operation for uterine prolapse, which became known as the Fothergill operation.

Fothergill firmly believed that gynaecologists should have some obstetrical training and tried to bring greater logic into the classifications used in gynaecology. He was against the anatomical classification of diseases used in books and lectures, as the same disease process could occur anywhere in the body, and the fact that symptoms were often made into diseases. He recommended an alternative pathological classification instead and promoted his own classification in his book Manual of Diseases of Women, in 1920. In the introduction to this book, he wrote his opinion that 'no one who has not in one way or another become a good obstetrician can ever hope to understand the diseases of women'.

The Fothergill Club, inspired to some extent by this reputation, was founded by Theodore Redman (1916-2004), former Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St James's Hospital, Leeds, with two of his colleagues. The idea for such a society arose at a meeting of the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society in 1957, when a group of members who had also been together at St Mary's, Manchester, like WE Fothergill, felt that there was a place for a new gynaecological club which would exist mainly to visit other centres of excellence in Britain and overseas, and to combine study of the specialty with what the club termed the 'Art of Living'. It was also recognised by Theodore Redman that other similar societies were very full at that time.

The inaugural meetings were held on the 8th and 9th May 1958 in Plymouth, after initial discussions on the 26th July 1957, in Manchester. The Club's founding members, apart from Theodore Redman, were Sir John (Jack) Dewhurst, later President of the RCOG from 1975-1978 ,Tiger Bevis, Howard Rowley, Frank Da Cunha, Tom Fitzgerald, Tubby Lawton, Gordon Napier and Alan Robson. At the club meetings in May and November 1958, it was decided that membership should be restricted to twenty people at any one time, (although this was later increased and allowed for the inclusion of inactive and honorary members) and that nominations should only be put forward at the next meeting after the one at which first contact with a potential member had been made. It was also agreed that prospective members' Cvs should be circulated to all current members, so that any reservations about a nomination could be expressed.

The Fothergill club had a varied annual programme of academic and cultural activities, combining business and scientific meetings with visits to places of interest, which allowed members' spouses and partners to travel with the club on most occasions and participate in these cultural aspects. From 1958 onwards, the Club became a successful travelling group that visited specialists in many European cities and in the United States. Visits were made in the UK and abroad in alternate years amd meetings were usually held twice a year in May/June and October/November. Theodore Redman produced a history of the Club for circulation to all members, in 2000.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Fothergill Club, 1957-2000, including minutes of meetings and other administrative correspondence relating to attendance of and arrangements for meetings, administrative papers relating to the organisation of overseas visits, and papers relating to recruitment and membership matters.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as follows: Administration of scientific visits and tours; Minutes and general administration (combined); Meetings; Minute Books.

Conditions governing access:

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available in the RCOG Archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

These records were passed down through the various Govenors and Secretaries of the Club.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by the Secretary of the Fothergill Club in May 2006 and in October 2007.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with 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:
Jul 2008

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