College history and archives

In 1928 British paediatricians met at the first meeting of the British Paediatric Association (BPA). The association received Royal College status in 1996. Institutional archives record the history of the College and of child health, and can be searched on an online catalogue.

British Paediatric Association

Photograph of the first meeting of the British Paediatric Association in 1928The BPA was set up with the aims of advancing the study of paediatrics and to promote friendship amongst paediatricians.

Sir George Frederic Still, Professor of Paediatrics at King's College London, became the first President and Dr Donald Paterson, a Canadian paediatrician working in London, was the first Honorary Secretary.

From the humble beginings of being a friendly club with a membership of six, the BPA grew to be an organisation that represented a growing speciality and sought for improvements in child health. This included publishing papers and guidelines on clinical practice, undertaking research and organising conferences.

Royal College

Throughout the 1970s and 80s BPA members began to feel that paediatrics needed to have its own Royal College. The association received Royal College status in August 1996, and took responsibility for the training and education of paediatricians in the UK. Sir Roy Meadow became its first President and HRH The Princess Royal, its Patron.

The College now has over 16,000 members, mainly hospital and community paediatricians. Most members live in the UK, although, there are some members and fellows who live abroad.

Institutional archives

Black and white photograph of quadruplet babiesThe College archives seek to preserve and ensure access to records of the College and the history of child health.

Our archive includes: 

  • records of the BPA/RCPCH Annual General Meeting and other events
  • records of BPA/RCPCH Council and Executive Committee
  • records of BPA/RCPCH Joint Committees and Working Parties
  • records of Awards and Lectureships
  • legal and constitutional records
  • published Policy statements and Research and Clinical Audit reports

Our collection may be of interest to those in researching the history of medicine, health and social policy and medical education.

Search the collection on our online catalogue

Access to material is on an appointment only basis, although enquiries are welcome from members of the College as well as members of the public. We also welcome donations of material from members as well as individuals and organisations with an involvement in child health.

More about resources, including research guides


For further information, please contact Alan McMahon, Head of Information Systems on