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London Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0148
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: London Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Date(s): 1952-1992
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 volume
Name of creator(s): London Society of Thoracic Surgeons


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London Society of Thoracic Surgeons, known as 'Charlie's Club', held it's first meeting on 2 May 1952. The Club was formed for thoracic surgeons to meet annually and report to each other on their mistakes in order to learn from them. The first 'Charlie' or mistake was made by Mr J R Belcher, three years before the first meeting of Charlie's Club. Belcher inadvertently divided the left main bronchus during a lobectomy, and subsequently published a report. The original constitution stated that there should be 15 members of the Club, although this was later extended to 18. The Club met once a year with one member acting as Chairman each year. The original aim was that each member would bring his 2 worst mistakes of the previous year to present at the meeting. Projects for each year were set, and the members would collect statistics on a particular theme, which would then be presented at the meeting, and the results possibly published. The Chairman would usually write the paper for his year in the chair. In 1980, following a fall in attendance, the Club decided that it had reached an end. The last scientific meeting of Charlie's Club took place at St Bartholomew's Hospital on the 1 May 1981. It was decided however that the Charlie's Club Annual Dinner should be continued as a social event for the members. The annual dinners continued for 12 years, the last dinner being held at the Army and Navy Club on 7 May 1992, the 40th anniversary of the Club.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the London Society of Thoracic Surgeons, 1952-1992, comprising a volume of minutes of Society, otherwise known as Charlie's Club, 1952-1981; a photocopy from the British Journal of Surgery, volume 38, 1950, containing the first acknowledged 'Charlie', a published record of a mistake made by the surgeon Mr John Rashleigh Belcher (FRCS) during a lobectomy operation; and menus and photographs from the annual dinners, including signatures of those in attendance.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Additional manuscripts catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated By Jack Belcher, via Sir Terence English (President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England), in 1992.

Allied Materials

Related material:

MS0063 - Minutes of the Cardiothoracic Society (Pete's Club), 1959-1989. A travelling surgical club where members informally discussed mistakes and errors of judgement made in cardiothoracic surgery.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

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:
Sep 2008

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