UCL logo




Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Medical and Chirurgical Society

Also known as Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London/Royal Society of Medicine


It was founded in 1805 by Dr Peter Roget and others as the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, a society to promote communication and knowledge sharing between members of the medical profession

Sir William Saunders was its first President

Roget was responsible for its Library from 1809 and became its President in 1829 (see Royal Society of Medicine website); a later President was Dr John Elliotson

In 1834 it received a Royal Charter and became the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London

It celebrated its centenary in 1905; soon afterwards, in 1907, it amalgamated with a number of specialist medical societies and became the Royal Society of Medicine

It continues to be an independent organisation promoting communication, education, and training for the medical profession

What was reforming about it?

It was a breakaway group from the earlier Medical Society of London (founded 1773), which was felt to be too hidebound

It went on to attract as members and officials some of the most notable doctors of the century

Where in Bloomsbury

Its first home was in Bloomsbury; it occupied two rooms in chambers at 2 Verulam Buildings, Gray’s Inn, from 1805–1810

In 1810 it left Bloomsbury and never returned

Website of current institution

The successor institution is the Royal Society of Medicine, at www.rsm.ac.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Penelope Hunting, The History of the Royal Society of Medicine (2001)

There is also a brief account of its history on the Royal Society of Medicine’s website, www.rsm.ac.uk/welcom/history.php (opens in new window)


Its archives and library have been maintained since 1805, and are held on site in Wimpole Street, London; further details can be found online via the Society’s website at www.rsm.ac.uk/librar/archives.php (opens in new window)

The Wellcome Library Archives and Manuscripts collection has a volume of extracts from its Council minutes from 1806–1839, which includes its time in Bloomsbury, ref. MS.5283, as well as related letters from later in the nineteenth century

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

Search by Google