British Medical Association

  • British Medical Association
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection comprises files c.1915-c.1960, from the following subject series: Medico-Political, Science, Groups, Ethics, Public Health, Hospitals, Organisation. Also incomplete set of copy minutes of Council, Committees and of the Annual Representatives' Meetings and Special Representatives' Meetings, c.1907-c.1982.



Physical description

299 boxes, 20 large boxes (1-319) 2 boxes, 6 large boxes (320-327)


Arranged by section as follows:

A Organisation (of BMA)

B Groups

C Medico-political

D Ethics

E Hospitals

F Public Health

G Science

H Miscellaneous

J Minutes and associated documents

Acquisition note

The British Medical Association offered sections A - H of the archive to the Wellcome Institute (now the library at Wellcome Collection) pending development of the gallery of the Great Hall of BMA House, Tavistock Square, where the files were mainly stored. A preliminary survey identified that the records represented a very incomplete set of registry files, and from these a number were selected for transfer to the Wellcome Institute. The files were transferred in June 1984. The BMA itself retained a number of files including those relating to the negotiations surrounding the NHS in the 1940s.

Section J consists of duplicate volumes of minutes and other papers generated by the BMA, and transferred to the Wellcome by the Registry of the British Medical Association in 4 accessions, Apr and Aug 1990, Jun and Aug 1992. The reason for gaps in certain series is that there appears to be only one copy of the minutes in existence, which is thus still held by the BMA Registry. Some additional duplicate minutes were received in September 1992 and have also been added to Section J.

The BMA Registry Files 1901-1970s held in the BMA Archive are now listed. A copy of this list is available for consultation by application to Archives and Manuscripts.

Accession numbers: 247, 327, 345, 350, 430, 441 and 446.

Biographical note

19 Jul 1832: foundation of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association

Sep 1835: the Eastern Medical Association is the first branch to open

1852: Monmouthshire (first Welsh branch) opens

1856: name changes to the British Medical Association

1858: the Medical Act is passed. Establishment of the General Medical Council and the Medical Register

1863: first appointment of the Parliamentary Bills Committee

1874: South of Ireland Branch opens

1874: Association registered as a company limited by guaruntee

1875: Edinburgh (first Scottish branch) opens

1877: first overseas branch in Jamica opens

1886: the Medical Act is passed

1911: National Health Insurance Bill

1940: Medical Planning Commission set up to consider the future of British medical services

Jun 1942: Commission publishes its report

Dec 1942: Beveridge report published

Feb 1944: Government publishes its White Paper 'A National Health Service'

1945: Negotiating Committee set up under the chairmanship of Dr Guy Dain to negotiate with the coalition Government

15 Dec 1945: 7 principles announced - these had to to be adhered to if the proposed National Health Service was to gain professional supposrt

20 Mar 1946: publication of the National Health Services Bill

6 Nov 1946: National Health Services Bill passed

5 Jul 1948: NHS came into being

1957: appointment of the Royal (Pilkington) Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration

1962: report of the Medical Services review Committee published (Porritt Report)

1963: report of the committee set up to review the future of general practice (committee set up in 1961)

1968: publication of the Government's Green Papers on the structure of the Health Service in England and Wales and Scotland

1973-1974: branches are abolished and replaced by Regional Councils

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

For related collections in Archives and Manuscripts see sources guides on: Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco; Alternative Medicine; Australasia; Birth Control; British Local History: General; Eyes, Ears, Teeth, Feet; Disabilities; The Great War, 1914-1918; Health Education/Promotion; Health tourism; Hospitals: Policy, History, etc; London; Maritime medicine; Medical Charities; Medical Education; Medical Ethics: Professional relations; Medical Ethics: Various issues; Mothers and Babies; Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting; Occupational Health and Medicine; Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, Psychological Medicine; Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychoanalysis: (2) Institutions; Nutrition; Hospitals; Public Health; Radiology, Radiotherapy and Radiobiology; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Social Work; South Asia; Southern Africa; War, Medicine, and Health after 1918; Women in Medicine.

Records held in the BMA archvive:

Records of the organisation, including minutes, other committee papers, subject and correspondence files. Also records of other organisations that had links with the BMA, including the Commonwealth Medical Association and the Local Medical Committee for the County of London.

Some branch files and private papers have also been deposited.

Records held elsewhere:

Norfolk Record Office: annual representative meeting local organising committee minutes, 1988 (Reference RR/RF)

Branch records held elsewhere as follows:

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service: North Bedfordshire division

Bedfordshire, minute books, correspondence, membership lists, 1943-70 (Reference X 764)

Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle Headquarters: Border Counties branch, Cumberland, minutes and papers, 1906-73

Cumbria Record Office, Kendal: Westmorland branch, Cumbria, records, 1903-75

Dundee University Archives: Dundee branch, Dundee, Angus, minutes and papers, 1892-1918 (Reference MS 61)

East Sussex Record Office: Brighton branch, Brighton, Sussex, records, 1911-50 (Reference 4172); Sussex branch, Sussex, minutes, 1911-56 (Reference: BMA)

Glamorgan Record Office: South Wales and Monmouthshire branch, records, 1871-1979

National Library of Wales: South Wales and Monmouthshire branch, records, 1903-75

Norfolk Record Office: East Anglia branch, minutes, 1873-75 (Reference SO56); East Norfolk branch, Norfolk, minutes, 1916-71 (Reference SO56); Norfolk branch, minutes, 1919-74 (Reference SO56); Norwich branch, Norwich, Norfolk, minutes, 1936-78 (Reference SO56)

Sheffield Archives, Sheffield division, Sheffield, Yorkshire, minutes, 1909-56

Southampton University Library: Wessex branch, minutes and papers, 1906-73

Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch: Ipswich branch, Ipswich, Suffolk, minutes and accounts of finance sub-committee, 1900 (Reference ID401/1/10/1)

Suffolk Record Office, Lowestoft Branch: North Suffolk branch, Suffolk, minutes, 1936-71

Lancashire Record Office: Lancaster division, Lancaster, Lancashire, minutes, 1903-1930 (Reference DDX 2192)

Tyne and Wear Archives Service: North of England branch, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, records, 1903-73 (Reference Acc 2089)

West Glamorgan Archive Service: Swansea division, Swansea, West Glamorgan, minute books, 1903-1982 (Reference D/D BMA S/1-7); emergency committee minute book, 1939-1948 (Reference D.238)

Warrington Library: Warrington branch, Warrington, Lancashire, minutes, 1903-45.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.


The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).


Permanent link


Accession number

  • 247
  • 327
  • 345
  • 350
  • 430
  • 441
  • 446