The Apprentice Barber-Surgeon to FRCS: Why is a Surgeon a Mr and not a Dr? An Online Talk - 27 May

Compared to the high status of a university educated physician, the surgeon originally had a low status in the medical hierarchy. The surgeon served an apprenticeship and was a member of a livery company, like other medieval craftsmen such as barbers.

In 1540 guilds of surgeons and barbers were merged to form the Company of Barber Surgeons responsible for licensing surgeons to practice in London and Westminster. As the academic basis of surgery developed in the 18th century, surgery itself became more professional. The Company of Surgeons, the forerunner of today’s Royal College of Surgeons, became independent from the Barbers.

The Medical Registration Act of 1858 recognised the surgeon as the equal of the physician as modern medicine took its place as a profession. Kevin Brown will how and why these events took place, and more.

About the Speaker: Kevin Brown is the Curator of the Alexander Fleming Museum at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, and Archivist to the  Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He is an expert on the history of health and medicine. He studied history at Hertford College, Oxford and qualified as an archivist at University College, London.

He previously worked at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, at Durham County Record Office and is former chairman of the London Museums of Health and Medicine. Kevin has lectured extensively and is the author of several books on the topic of health and medicine.

A one-hour live online talking using Zoom on Thursday, 27 May (2pm), cost £10.00/£6.50 SoG members, includes a Q&A so bring your questions along. Bookings must be pre-booked through our website 

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