College history

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 AssociationPhotograph of an early meeting of the British Paediatric Association

British Paediatric Association

The 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, was the first President. 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.


Our archive records of RCPCH and British Paediatric Association from 1928 until present day.

It 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

Paediatricians' lives

As part of our 21 year anniversary, we celebrate the lives of members with a register of former RCPCH Presidents and winners of the James Spence Medal, our highest honour. 

Search the register


For further information, please contact Adele Picken, Information Governance Manager, on