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Presentation on theme: "T HE R OYAL C OLLEGE OF S URGEONS OF E DINBURGH by Vladimír Bulín DZZ2."— Presentation transcript:


2 SOMETHING ABOUT THE HISTORY From its earliest origins the College has been an examining body principally concerned with the setting and maintenance of professional standards. The incorporation was granted the right to have the body of one executed criminal per year for the purposes of anatomical dissection. Having regard to the very strong religious, cultural and social prejudices against dissection of the human body, this was indeed an extraordinary thing.

3 H ISTORY During the 16th c entury the Incorporation met in the house of its Deacon but meetings were occasionally held in one of the aisles of St. Giles Kirk The early records of the Incorporation are fragmented but the names of most of it o ffice b earers are recorded by Town Council. From 1581 the records are complete.

4 H ISTORY By the end of the 17th c entury, an increasing number of Edinburgh s urgeons had acquired a formal academic training in medicine and certain physicians had begun also to practice surgery. The most notable of these was Archibald Pitcairne, who became Professor of Medicine at the University of Leiden where amongst his students were many Scots. He returned to Edinburgh in 1693 and joined the Incorporation of Barbers and Surgeons in 1701.

5 H ISTORY In 1695, the Incorporation was granted a new charter by King William III and Queen Mary which confirmed the jurisdiction of the Surgeon Apothecaries over the practice of surgery in Edinburgh and the south-east of Scotland. The charter also confirmed the Incorporations responsibility for anatomical teaching and this prompted it to apply to the Town Council for more bodies for dissection.

6 H ISTORY The Council approved this application on the condition that the Incorporation will provide an anatomical theatre. The first public dissections were conducted there in 1703.

7 THE 1700 s : THE GROWTH OF SCIENTIFIC MEDICINE IN EDINBURGH The Faculty of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh was established in 1726 and no one did more to achieve this than John Monro. Monros son, Alexander Monro (Primus), became Professor of Anatomy in the University in 1719 and his brilliance as a teacher attracted students from all over the British Isles and even from the North American Colonies. He also played a part in the establishment of the Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary.

8 THE 1700 s : THE GROWTH OF SCIENTIFIC MEDICINE IN EDINBURGH Surgery suffered from the effects of a lingering academic prejudice against what was perceived to be a manual craft rather than an intellectual discipline. Formal surgical teaching consisted of only a few lectures as a part of the u niversity course in a natomy.

9 THE 1800 s : A NEW MEETING PLACE, THE PLAYFAIR BUILDING By the beginning of the 19th c entury, the Old Surgeons Hall had become inadequate for the College and there was an urgent need to provide suitable accommodation for the large collection of anatomical and surgical specimens which had been presented to the College by Dr John Barclay. William Henry Playfair, , the foremost Scottish architect of that era, was commissioned to design a building containing a meeting hall, m useum, l ecture Room and l ibrary as principal apartments.

10 THE MUSEUM SURGEONS HALL is a part of Royal College of Surgeons



13 INTO THE 20 TH CENTURY: A PERIOD OF EXPANSION In 1955, on the 450th a nniversary of the foundation of the College, the Honorary Fellowship was conferred upon His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had graciously consented to become Patron of the College earlier in that year. The same year marked the advent of the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which, under the Editorship of Sir John Bruce, rapidly achieved world-wide recognition. The first College meeting in Edinburgh was held in 1960.

14 INTO THE 20TH CENTURY: A PERIOD OF EXPANSION Some years later, certain senior Egyptian Fellows invited the College to visit Egypt and, in 1976, the first full scale College meeting to be held in the British Isles took place in Cairo and Alexandria. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was graciously pleased in 1979 to grant the College its sixth Royal Charter.

15 E XAMINATIONS During the first two centuries of its existence, the Surgeons admitted to membership those apprentices who had been trained for six years by master surgeons and who had given satisfactory service. T he most important condition of entry was the passing of an examination, conducted by the senior members of the Incorporation. In 1851, it was decided that admission to the Fellowship of the College should be purely by election.

16 E XAMINATIONS During the 20th c entury, the form and content of the examinations have been progressively adapted to changes in surgical science and practice and in accordance with changing patterns of surgical training.


18 Robert Knox was born the eighth child of Mary Sherer and Robert Knox, a teacher of mathematics and natural philosophy at Heriot's Hospital in Edinburgh. He was educated at the High School.

19 R OBERT K NOX In 1810, he joined medical classes in Edinburgh. The only recorded event of his university years was about his failing the anatomy examination. Knox joined the extramural Anatomy class of the famous John Barclay. Redoubling his efforts, Knox passed very competently the second time around.

20 T HE R ESURRECTIONISTS Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 widened the supply, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts. This led to a chronic shortage of legitimate subject of dissection, and this shortage became more serious as the need to train medical students grew, and the number of executions fell. The Royal Colleges had enforced an extension of anatomical examination in the medical curriculum.

21 T HE R ESURRECTIONISTS As a consequence, body-snatching became so prevalent that it was not unusual for relatives and friends of someone who had just died to watch over the body until burial, and then to keep watch over the grave after burial, to stop it being violated. In November 1827 William Hare began a new career when an indebted lodger died in his house by chance. He was paid 7 pounds for delivering the body to Knox.

22 T HE R ESURRECTIONISTS Burke and his accomplice Hare set about murdering tramps and drunks on a regular basis. After 16 more transactions, in what became known as the West Port Murders, on 2 November 1828 Burke and Hare were caught, and the whole city convulsed with horror, fed by ballads, broadsides and newspapers, at the terrible deeds of Burke and Hare. Hare turned King's evidence, and Burke was hanged, dissected and displayed.

23 T HE R ESURRECTIONISTS Knox was not prosecuted. A committee of the Royal Society of Edinburgh exonerated him of blame, but there was no forgetting his part in the case, and many remained wary of him.

24 T HE R ESURRECTIONISTS His profitable lecturing was the next to suffer. His class finally collapsed when Edinburgh University made its own practical anatomy class compulsory in the mid-1830s. Knox continued to purchase cadavers for his dissection class, but the 1832 Anatomy Act made bodies more available to all anatomists, and his competitive edge was lost.


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