RCPE History of medicine award

The purpose of this award is to support and develop the study of the history of medicine in Scotland.

The prize for this award is £500.


This award is open to all researchers in the history of medicine, or related social and cultural history fields. Researchers can be based in the United Kingdom or overseas. Please be aware that for overseas finalists, travel expenses to the event will only be paid from their point of entry into the United Kingdom.

Application and Selection Procedure

Research must be unpublished and must have been undertaken in the last 3 years. Research which has been submitted for publication will be considered, but details should be given of when and where it has been submitted, and if it has been accepted for publication. Abstracts must be based on original research in the field.

The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018.

Abstracts must be submitted in either PDF or Word format along with a completed application form and curriculum vitae. The abstract must not exceed 1000 words in length. The curriculum vitae must not exceed two sides of A4.

Applicants, if chosen, must be willing to present their research on Friday 19 October 2018. This is a public event, to encourage engagement with the history of medicine in Scotland.

The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh will publish the winning paper. The winner will also be asked to submit a guest blog post on their research for publication on the College’s heritage blog.

The award can only be awarded to an individual once.


Click here for more info

HAS Summer Scientific Meeting 2018

29-30 June – Royal College of Surgeons of  Edinburgh
8 CPD Credits applied for. Download the programme here



Friday 29 June
0900 Registration opens (Fellows Library)
0925 President’s welcome (Playfair Hall)
Session 1: Symposium on the history of subspecialties in anaesthesia (1)
0930 Neuroanaesthesia Dr Peter Farling, Belfast
1015 Obstetric anaesthesia & analgesia Dr Alistair McKenzie, Edinburgh
1100 Coffee break
Session 2: Symposium on the history of subspecialties in anaesthesia (2)
1125 Paediatric anaesthesia Dr Declan Warde, Dublin
1210 Cardiothoracic anaesthesia Dr R Peter Alston, Edinburgh
1255 Close of Symposium
1300 LUNCH
1400 Session 3: Free Papers (including Trainees)
1605 Tea
1630 Annual General Meeting
1830 Drinks Reception
1900 Dinner in Fellows Library
Saturday 30 June
0900 Session 4: Free Papers
1130 Coffee break
1200 Session 5: Guest Lecture A look back at clinical trials in anaesthesia
Prof Walter Nimmo
1245 Close of Meeting and LUNCH



20 bedrooms for 2 nights (28 and 29 June 2018) have been reserved at discounted rates in Ten Hill Place Hotel (4 star), which is just across the road from the venue. These will be available on a first-come, first-served basis by quoting the code “SURG280618”.
The rates are: £150 B&B single per night, £160 B&B double per night. Booking must be made by 3rd May 2018.
Details for contacting this hotel are as follows.
10 Hill Place, Edinburgh EH8 9DS
Tel: +44 (0)131 662 2080
Fax: +44 (0)131 662 2082
Email: reservations@tenhillplace.com
As the event is during the University of Edinburgh summer vacation, rooms have also been reserved at the nearby Pollock Halls for the following discounted rates:
£75 B&B single-en-suite per night
£104 B&B twin/double en-suite per night.
Contact details are as follows:
Edinburgh First, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AY
Website: http://www.edinburghfirst.co.uk/for-accommodation
When making reservation, enter the code: “HAS18”.
Subject to availability bookings may be made until 28 June 2018.
There are of course many other hotels and “Bed & Breakfast” accommodation in Edinburgh, which may be found on the Internet.

100 years on from the death of Dr Elsie Inglis

After being told by the War Office ‘my good lady go home and sit still’ as women doctors and surgeons were not permitted to serve in front-line hospitals, Elsie offered her services to Britain’s allies. On their acceptance, she formed the Scottish Women’s Hospitals (SWH) and together with her colleagues and associates from the suffragist movement between 1914-1919 raised the equivalent of £53m in today’s money to buy equipment and get their stations to the front line.
Seventeen Scottish Women’s Hospitals were set up across France, Corsica, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia to treat soldiers, as well as a number of satellite hospitals and dressing stations, manned by nearly 1,500 women.

You can also learn more about Elsie and the SWH movement at www.ww100scotland.com

British Society for the History of Medicine The 27th BSHM Congress

Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh 13th – 16th September 2017

The four themes of the Congress are:

  • Women in Medicine
  • Scotland’s contribution and influence
  • Apothecaries and their successors
  • Art and photography in Medicine

These themes are not exclusive and papers on any aspect of the history of medicine are welcome

Abstract submission is now open until 31st May 2017

For details see the BSHM website

Edinburgh History of Medicine Group

The group holds a series of monthly talks between October and April each year. These are held in the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and  are open to all.

Details of the programme for session 2015-16 can be found here


Glasgow History of Medicine Group

The Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow are collaborating in a series of seminars on medical history, medical humanities and related topics.  Meetings will be in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow at 5.30 pm.  Tea/coffee from 5.00 pm.  All welcome.

For further information email: library@rcpsg.ac.uk


John Blair Trust

The Trust is a registered charity established in 1995 by the British Society for the History of Medicine and the Scottish Society of the History of Medicine.  John Blair had been President of both Societies and had played a major role in organising  meetings whose financial success led to the formation of the Trust.

The purpose of the Trust is “The promotion of the study of the history of medicine by undergraduate students of medicine and allied sciences”.

The Trustees invite applications from undergraduates in medicine and allied sciences throughout the UK, for grants-in-aid, up to £150, to enable them to pursue their studies in the history of medicine. Such applications might include funding for necessary photocopying, research fees and any other incidental or enabling expenses.

Application forms may be viewed and downloaded  as a Word Document from here  Blair Trust Application Form


John Morgan

John Morgan compOn 24th June 1950 at the Society’s 8th meeting Professor Whitfield Bell described the life and work of John Morgan an Edinburgh medical gradutae of 1763.

Morgan was the principal founder of the first medical school in America, at Philadelphia in 1765. Indeed it was from the Edinburgh Medical School that the inspiration, the model, and the trained men to found this first medical school in America came. Morgan’s project for American medical practice and education comprised three heads. He wanted to raise the standards of professional practice by separating the practice of medicine from the practice of surgery and the sale of drugs. He founded a medical school in connection with a U niversity, and required candidates for medical degrees first to have had a sound general training in the liberal arts and sciences. He wanted to create in Philadelphia a College of Physicians like the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, of which he was a Fellow (1763), that physicians might exchange ideas’ and encourage and enforce high standards.
Professor Bell concluded that in some measure, Morgan failed in each of his enterprises. Philadelphia had only a population of some 30,000; the conditions of life in America were not suited to the kind of specialisation and the standard which existed in Britain. Ultimately, however, most of Morgan’s ideas were adopted, by other persons, and from this point of view he justified Benjamin Franklin’s prediction that he would” be of great use to his country and an honour to the Medical School of Edinburgh.”

This portrait, a copy of the original by Angelica Kaufman, hangs in the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh