Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medictne
President-J. D. ROLLESTON, M.D.
[October 8, 1943]
The Clinical Society of London (1868-1907)
j. D. ROLLESTON, M.D.
IN contrast with the practice of the parent society on only two previous occasions have
Presidential Addresses been given before the Clinical Section.
Barlow in 1907, which was the first to be delivered before the Section after the Clinical
Society became merged in the Royal Society of Medicine, while the other was Sir Anthony
Bowlby's Address in 1920 "On the Application of War Methods to Civil Practice."
A proposal to make a Section of Clinical Medicine and Surgery as well as of other sub-
jects, part of a Royal Society of Medicine dates back to 1868, when a committee to deal
with the matter was set up by the Royal M\edical and Chirurgical Society and was further
discussed the following year, but nothing came of it (Moore and Paget, 1905).
In 1892 Sir Andrew Clark, who was president of that Society, raised the question of
amalgamation again, but died before much progress was made in effecting union, and his
successor Mr., afterwards Sir, Jonathan Hutchinson was so opposed to it that the matter
was not resuscitated until 1905, when a revised scheme of union was made and two vears
later the union of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society with seventeen other Societies
was firmly established.
The term "Clinical Society of London " has been erroneouLsly applied in the First Series
of the Surgeon-General's Catalogue,
1882, 229, to a Clinical Society at Guy's Hospital
founded in 1836, also called "Clinical Report Society", whose proceedings were incorpora-
ted for many years in Guy's Hospital Reports.
According to James Blake Bailey, librarian of the Royal College of Surgeons, the forma-
tion of the Clinical Society of London, the parent of the Clinical Section of the Royal
Society of Medicine, was mainly due to Dr. Headlam Greenhow and Dr., afterwards Sir,
John Burdon Sanderson, who were both assistant physicians to the Middlesex Hospital,
the latter subsequently going to Oxford where he was appointed first Waynflete Professor
of Physiology and later Regius Professor of Medicine.
Greenhow's only monument consists of specimens illustrating Addison's disease and miner's
phthisis in the Museum of the Middlesex Hospital, but he was also the' author of the best
pre-antitoxin work on diphtheria and
medicine and surgery by the collection of cases, especially such as bear upon undeter-
mined questions in pathology and therapeutics."
appointed, and a sub-committee consisting of Dr., afterwards
Medical Inspector to the Privy Council, Mr. Callender, assistant surgeon to St. Bartholo-
mew's Hospital, Dr. Greenhow, Dr. Sydney Ringer, physician to University College Hos-
pital and Dr. Burdon Sanderson, was nominated to prepare a draft of rules for the
Society.The proposal met with immediate success.
it was reported that 110 original members had joined the Society.
the leading physician of the day, indeed
as author of a classical work on "The Principles and Practice of Physic," was appointed
first President with Dr. Burdon Sanderson and Mr. Callender as the first Secretaries.
first General Meeting was held on January 10, 1868, when Sir Thomas Watson delivered
his Presidential Address.
With the exception of the first session which was held from
Nlay, all the sessions were held from October to May, as in the Clinical
Section to-day, but took place twice a month, namely on the second and fourth Fridays.
The business of each Ordinary Meeting consisted in the receiving of communications
of two classes; the first relating to cases of which the records were complete, while those
of the second class were still under observation.
minutes, longer papers being regarded
Annual Meetings were held for the election of officers and other
members of the Council, and Special Meetings were convened by the President and
Council for the consideration of special business.
53, Berners Street in the rooms of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society,
One was that of Sir Thomas
According to Sir John Bland-Sutton
a valuable monograph on Addison's
A provisional committee was then
Sir, George Buchanan,
At a meeting on December 9, 1867,
Sir Thomas Watson,
it has been said of the century,
No communication was to exceed ten
as more suitable for the Royal Medical and
The meetings were successively held at