Lives of the Fellows Project

The earliest Fellowships were awarded by election, and thus on merit, so the individuals concerned (the ‘Foundation’ Fellows) were central to the development of the specialty in the middle of the 20th century. However, many of them are not as well-known as they should be, this being the main reason for developing this collection of biographical material - the ‘Lives of Fellows’. The older Medical Royal Colleges have long published books of such biographies, but paper is an increasingly expensive medium for collecting and publishing information so it was decided that our project would be digital from the start. With that established, another major decision had to be made – who to start with because we have over 12,000 current Fellows! Originally, it was hoped to include every Fellow straight away, but even with an electronic system the number would be unmanageable so the plan is to start with two groups of Fellows (Foundation and Retired), and build from there. 

Retired Fellows

We are asking all retired Fellows in contact with the College to complete the form so please have a look at some of the forms already completed.  If you are happy to contribute, e-mail the archivist, Rosemary Sayce (archives@rcoa.ac.uk) who will send you a form with your names and College Reference Number already inserted (please notify her of any error). Fill in as much or as little of the detail requested as you wish, and send the form (again as an e-mail attachment) back to the archivist. Guidance on what to include is built into the form, but please seek further information if it is required. We would be delighted to receive a photograph of you (or of something related to a professional interest) to go with the form, but please send that as a separate e-mail attachment rather than inserted in the form. The form will be checked for format etc and then stored in secure (off-line) electronic format until such time as the information is needed. It will not be released to anyone prior to your death without your full permission.

Foundation Fellows (elected 1948–1952)

None of this important group is with us any longer so we are seeking volunteers to complete the forms on a third party basis. Linked to this document are annual lists (see below) of the early Fellows and the medical centres with which they were associated. Some forms have been completed (by members of the Heritage Committee) already, and these can be identified because they appear in blue and are underlined. ‘Click’ on the name and the link will take you to the form and its information. If the names appear in plain black no form has been completed and we will be very pleased to receive an e-mail (archives@rcoa.ac.uk) volunteering to do it. To avoid any problems arising from two or more people working on the same biography please do not start work until you have received a positive reply from the Archivist. A copy of the data form will be attached to the reply, and the individual’s names and College Reference Number will have been added to the form. Anything in the archive relevant to the individual will be sent as well.  Please look at some completed forms for an idea of how information should be entered. All forms will be reviewed by the Heritage Committee before publication.

Please do not start work on another’s biography until you have received this form.

Encouragement to engage with this process will be circulated through the membership of the College’s Senior Fellows Club and the History of Anaesthesia Society. However, we would also hope that trainees now in the centre where the individual once worked might like to become involved, perhaps with advice from a Senior Fellow or a member of the Society. Information (obituaries etc) can be gleaned from many sources:

  1. National and local newspapers
  2. Medical journals (anaesthetic and general)
  3. Records of national and local societies (anaesthetic and general)
  4. Formal histories of national and local societies
  5. Families of the individuals who may still live in the area
  6. Medical Registers and Directories
  7. Genealogy websites (the College has access to www.ancestry.co.uk which includes historic Medical Registers)
  8. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  9. Some 800 or so biographical forms were collected by Dr T B Boulton in the 1980s, and these will, if available, be provided to authors 

Fellows, Faculty of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Surgeons of England

The College acknowledges the kind assistance of the Archive and Library staff of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in confirming the details of these lists:

Click on one of the above documents to see the names of recipients of the Fellowship of the Faculty during that year.  As noted above, if the name is in blue a click on it will reveal that a biography has been written already, but suggestions for corrections or additional material are still welcome. If the name is in black, no biography has yet been produced and we will be delighted to receive an offer to help. In either case, please contact the College Archivist (archives@rcoa.ac.uk). There is also an alphabetical list of all the biographies which have been published so far.

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