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Royal College of Surgeons of England

Coordinates: 51°30′55″N, 0°6′57″W


The Royal College of Surgeons of England is an independent professional body committed to promoting and advancing the highest standards of surgical care for patients, regulating surgery, including dentistry, in England and Wales. The College is located at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London.

Additional recommended knowledge



The origins of the College go back to the fourteenth century with the foundation of the 'Guild of Surgeons Within the City of London'[1]. There was dispute between the surgeons and barber surgeons until an agreement was signed between them in 1493, giving the fellowship of surgeons the power of incorporation[2] This union was formalised further in 1540 by Henry VIII of England between the Worshipful Company of Barbers (incorporated 1462) and the Guild of Surgeons to form the Company of Barber-Surgeons. In 1745 the surgeons broke away from the barbers to form the Company of Surgeons. In 1800 the Company was granted a Royal Charter to become the Royal College of Surgeons in London. A further charter in 1843 granted it the present title of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


The original 300 Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) include:

  • John Abernethy (1764–1831)
  • John Badley (1783–1870)
  • Richard Partridge (1805–1873)

The correct way to address a fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons is to use the title Mr. (not Dr.).


The Company of Surgeons moved from Surgeon's Hall in Old Bailey to a site at 41 Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1797. Construction of the first College building, to a design by George Dance the Younger and James Lewis, took from 1805 to 1813. Before long, a survey by Sir John Soane uncovered structural defects. In 1833 Sir Charles Barry won the public competition to design a replacement. The library and portico of this building are all that remain today after a German incendiary bomb hit the College in 1941.

Hunterian and Wellcome Museums

 In 1799 the government purchased the collection of John Hunter which they presented to the College. This formed the basis of the Hunterian Collection, which has since been supplemented by others including an Odontological Collection and the natural history collections of Richard Owen. The museum displays thousands of anatomical specimens, including the Evelyn tables and the skeleton of the "Irish giant" Charles Byrne, and many surgical instruments. Many specimens were destroyed by the 1941 bomb. As well as the Hunterian Museum, the College houses the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology. The College museums reopened in February 2005 after a major refurbishment, which created a new "crystal" gallery of steel and glass. The Hunterian Museum is open to the public without charge, but the Wellcome Museum is only open to medical practitioners and students.

There is another and better known institution called the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. It was founded out of a bequest by John Hunter's brother William.


See also


  1. ^ Louis Kuo Tai Fu (2000)The origins of surgery. 2: From barbers to surgeons Annals of the College of Surgeons Hong Kong 4 (1), 35–49. doi:10.1046/j.1442-2034.2000.00029.x
  2. ^, page 118
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Royal_College_of_Surgeons_of_England". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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