Novice Guide

Published: 15/08/2019

Introduction

Brief history of the Royal College of Anaesthestists

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has its foundations in the Faculty of Anaesthetists formed in 1948 within the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The origins of the Faculty can be traced back, as with all Royal Colleges, to the guilds of craftsmen of the 12th and 13th centuries. The Society of Anaesthetists was founded in London by Dr Frederick Silk. The Society joined the Royal Society of Medicine in 1908 and the Section of Anaesthesia of the Royal Society of Medicine still flourishes today.

It was Sir Ivan Magill who was so instrumental in the innovation of the Diploma in Anaesthetics. As this could not be organized through the Royal Society of Medicine, Sir Ivan Magill, together with colleagues, founded the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland in 1932. The Diploma in Anaesthetics (DA) began in 1934 and allowed the specialty of anaesthesia to develop. In 1944, the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England co-opted the President of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland to its meetings and there anaesthesia rested until the end of the 2nd World War and the beginning of the National Health Service in 1948.

The Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons of England was founded in 1948 under the guidance of Dr Archibald Marston, the then President of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland. The objective was to improve training of anaesthetists so that anaesthesia would be a specialty recognized in its own right, and in particular to upgrade the DA into a Fellowship. The first Dean of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons was Dr Archibald Marston himself. There were 102 Fellows by invitation to senior anaesthetists with consultant status and the Faculty of Anaesthetists quickly introduced the Fellowship examination and began the inspection of hospital posts and their approval for training.

The Faculty was granted increasing autonomy within the Royal College of Surgeons of England but by the 1970s many anaesthetists felt that they should form an independent College as other Faculties had done. In 1988, the Faculty of Anaesthetists became the College of Anaesthetists, a College within a College.

The College moved to its own premises at 48/49 Russell Square in August 1992 and was subsequently granted its Royal Charter and became The Royal College of Anaesthetists. The building was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in July 1993.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists is privileged to have HRH The Princess Royal as its Patron. She is very supportive of all College activities. In 2006 the College moved to Churchill House, 35 Red Lion Square. The building was opened by The Princess Royal on 16 January 2006. Churchill House, together with office accommodation, includes a four floor Institute of Education, made up of a lecture theatre and a number of meeting rooms of varying sizes. The move to Churchill House enables the College to run its examinations together with a large number of its events, courses, meetings and lectures in house.
In 2009, the College purchased 34 Red Lion Square which will be developed to meet the future needs of the College.