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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The College Archives
Special Committees, Divisions and Sections

From Psychiatric Bulletin, April 1999 page 250-1

The College archives are the part of the paperwork created by the College and its predecessor bodies that has been considered worthy of permanent preservation for administrative or historical reasons. The core of this archive is the surviving minutes of the Council and standing committees that are preserved either in printed form in the Journal of Mental Science, now The British Journal of Psychiatry, or in manuscript form. These were carefully kept throughout the various moves of the (R)MPA before it became the College and settled in a permanent headquarters in Belgrave Square. Paperwork from other (R)MPA bodies was not kept so systematically.
Special Committees: The newly founded Association lost no time in setting up special committees. The first of these, the Registers and Tables Committees, was appointed at the first annual meeting in 1841 and reported the following year. Many other committees followed; some produced reports that were printed in the Journal or bound into the Council minute books; others produced reports that have disappeared and others just disappeared without apparently reporting or even meeting. Records of the Medical Planning Committee, 1944-5, the Appeal Committee, 1971-85 and the Special Committee on Unethical Psychiatric Practices are in the archives.
Sections: The College faculties (previously called specialist sections) developed from 1928 onwards from Research Committee sub committees, and became specialist sections when the RMPA became the College. Some faculty minutes are in the archives although the earliest dates only from the 1940s.
Divisions: College divisions date from the early 1890s although there were regular meetings in Ireland and Scotland before then. In general, the modern divisions retain their own records. Of the pre-1972 divisions, some minutes of the South East, South West and Northern and Midland Divisions are in the archives and there are also small files relating to the Indian Division that existed from 1936 to 1948 and to the New Zealand branch that was proposed in 1928. Records of the Scottish Division from 1869 are in Edinburgh University Library but the whereabouts of records of the Irish College of Psychiatrists is unknown.