College Heritage

This section of the website serves to put the work of the College into its historical context in the main using information from the Heritage Committee, starting with essays on the history of anaesthesia and on the origins of the College and its Fellowship. Officially, the College is young, having received its Royal Warrant only in 1992, but its work really began in 1948 with the founding of the Faculty of Anaesthetists at the Royal College of Surgeons of England so the gallery of past leaders includes both Deans of the Faculty and Presidents of the College.

Recently, the work of the Heritage Committee has focused on the early years of the Faculty in two ways, the common factor being provision of documents and source materials for future historians wishing to research the College’s past. First, we have been building up our archive of documents relating to the origins and early years of the Faculty; and second, we have started a Lives of the Fellows project to provide biographical material on our Fellows, starting with those elected in the early years, a group vital to the establishment of the specialty. It is hoped that many will wish to contribute to this project by researching and writing biographies.

The Lives of Fellows – first Board of Faculty 1948
The lives of the Foundation Board’s members spanned the years 1888 to 2008, and inevitably they were touched by the events of the 20th Century’s two World Wars. These conflicts were perhaps the greatest man-made catastrophes of all time, but there is no doubt that ‘anaesthesia’ advanced as a specialty as a result of both. Please click here to read an article by Dr E Anne Thornberry (RCoA Honorary Archivist and Chair, Heritage Committee) on 'The Influence of Two World Wars'.

The early history of anaesthesia and later development of the specialty
The history of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
Past Deans and Presidents of the Faculty of Anaesthetists and College/Royal College of Anaesthetists
The Armorial Bearings of the Royal College of Anaesthetists
Records relating to the Faculty and College
Information on the College project
Biographical information on our Fellows
A film to mark the 65th Anniversary of the National Health Service