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50th Anniversary Celebrations

2012 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of The Royal College of Pathologists. As part of the celebrations, a year-long programme of events are taking place as part of National Pathology Year. Before we look at some of the activities taking place this year let us first look at how it all began 50 years ago...

  • The first meeting of subscribers was held at 3pm on 21 June 1962.
  • Some 300 members attended, a significant proportion of the 754 people who had sent in subscriptions.
  • Initially, the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene and the Royal School of Needlework were suggested as locations for the College. However, through Theo Crawford’s (a founding member and future President) connection with the British Empire Cancer Campaign as Scientific Secretary, the College was able to lease some space at their headquarters at 12 Grosvenor Crescent (bottom left) and this became the College's first residence.
  • In the early 1980s all members recieved a copy of Pathology as a Profession in Great Britain by WD Foster, a copy of which still has pride of place on a bookcase at the College. As part of this year's Golden Anniversary celebrations, all members will be sent a copy of A History of Pathology in 50 Objects.

  • The 25th Silver Anniversary edition of the Bulletin (January 1987) published a photo of Sir Roy Cameron, Dr James Howie and Professor Dan Cappell (above) signing multiple copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association at the third Council meeting held on 13 November 1963. This formed the basis of the College’s constitution, until the Royal Charter was granted with effect from 28 February 1970.
  • In 1965, the College moved to premises in Chandos House, owned by the Royal Society of Medicine, and from there to Park Crescent, before finding a permanent home at 2 Carlton House Terrace (below right), acquiring a lease with the Cancer Research Campaign though the generous benefaction of the late Sir Michael Sobell, who is commemorated by a plaque in the foyer.

  • The College has recently published Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help laboratories and commissioners evaluate and compare pathology services. This is not a new initiative, performance indicators were on the agenda in 1987 when the College was part of a Joint Working Party on Performance Indicators (PIs). When the group met for the first time on 15 April 1985, it was noted that it "is likely that the development of satisfactory PIs will take a considerable time".
  • As part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1987, the College hosted a scientific conference, Pathology in a Changing World at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre on 8-11 September. The programme included full-day symposia in chemical pathology, haematology, histopathology and microbiology with half-day sessions in cytopathology, genetics, immunology, toxicology and neuropathology. The event was attended by over 640 delegates from 35 countries. Today, the College hosts a year round programme of conferences and academic activities.
  • The 2012 June Council meeting is being held on 21 June to commemorate the exact date of the founding of the College.
  • Her Majesty, the Queen, the College's Patron, has visited the College three times, in 1970 when the building was first opened and in 1987 as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations (pictured right) and again in 1994. As part of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, she visited the College's exhibit at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, Urban Greening - Not to be sneezed at! Plants for a low allergy garden.

A History of Pathology in 50 Objects

As part of the 50th anniversary the College has commissioned the A History of Pathology in 50 Objects project to create a lasting legacy of the 50th anniversary. A book of all 50 Objects will be published and sent to all members at the end of the year as a lasting reminder of the anniversary. You can find out more about this project and see the objects released so far on the 50 objects web page.

National Pathology Year

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the College is hosting National Pathology Year, a year long series of events to promote the work of pathologists and the central role that pathology plays in modern healthcare. Find out more by visiting our dedicated National Pathology Year events pages.

50th Anniversary Mosaic

To mark the 50th anniversary, members of the College were invited to submit a photograph of themselves to be incorporated into a photo mosaic, depicting the entrance to the College on Carlton House Terrace. Hundreds of photos were submitted and the finished mosaic can be seen at the College.

Pathology in the Capital

The College has created a self-guided tour of pathology-releated sites in London which was launched at the unveiling of a City of Westminster plaque in honour of Forensic Pathologist, Professor Keith Simpson. The plaque was unveiled on 1st June 2012 by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and Deputy leader Councillor Davis (above, middle). Dr Archie Prentice (far left) and Mark Gazaleh (far right) also made speeches in Professor Simpson's honour. You can find out more about this event or download the tour by visiting the Pathology in the Capital web page.

College Memorabilia

We have commissioned a new range of special edition College memorabilia to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Stock levels are limited so visit the College shop to order your mementos of the anniversary.


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