The Royal College of Surgeons of England

The Royal College of Surgeons of England has its current headquarters in this solemn building in London (35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields).

It is “the lineal descendant of the Company of Surgeons which in 1745 broke away from the Barber-Surgeons’ Company which had been established [in 1540] by Act of Parliament in the reign of Henry the Eight”1.

“The new company was called the Company of Surgeons from 1745 to 1800, when it assumed the name of The Royal College of Surgeons of London, becoming lastly The Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1843”2.

The move in 1800 from their previous Hall near Newgate Prison (the source of criminal bodies for dissection) to Lincoln's Inn Fields "was prompted partly by surgeons' pursuit of the rich, upper classes on whom doctors depended from their income and partly because Surgeons' Hall could not accomodate the newly acquired bequest from John Hunter, his vast museum of anatomical specimens. At the same time the Company became a royal college, giving surgeons similar status to that of physicians.
Initially the College occupied No 41, one of the fine houses that lined this side of the square. Having acquired a neighbouring house, the first Royal College building in this site was erected in 1813. Designed by George Dance the Younger, ita had a neo-classical portico including the six large fluted Ionic columns you can see today. Following the acquisition of two more houses, Charles Barry expanded and remodelled the building in 1836 (…). The building suffered badly during WWII (…). Reconstruction plus the addition of the Nuffield College of Surgical Sciences (to the left of the main building was not completed until 1957"3.

  • Photos by ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#ihgroB acuL (July 2011), courtesy of The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.

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