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

 College History and Archives


Grant of Arms, 1926History

The Royal College of Psychiatrists was founded in 1841 as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane. This Association changed its name to the Medico-Psychological Association in 1865 and to the Medico Psychological Association of Great Britain and Ireland in 1887. In 1926 it received a royal charter and thus became the Royal Medico Psychological Association and in 1971 it changed its status to that of a medical royal college.

Further reading



The collection

The archives collection consists mainly of records created by the College and its predecessor bodies, a small collection of deposited archives and manuscripts, and an antiquarian book collection on the history of psychiatry. Click on the links below for summary descriptions of these collections, or to search the Library Catalogue for antiquarian books using the word 'antiquarian' as the keyword:


Institutional archives Deposited archives and manuscripts
1851 Meeting The Camberwell House Case Book


Nursing examinations archives


Portraits and paintings collection

RMPA Mental Nursing Medal Winter view of College by John Hodder


The archives catalogue

Descriptions of our collections are searchable via our online archives catalogue, or via the Archives Hub and AIM25 websites. Cataloguing of the collections is ongoing, if you cannot find what you are looking for you should contact the Archivist: .


All archives over 30 years are open to College Fellows and Members. They are also open to other researchers by appointment with the Archivist. Archives less than 30 years old are normally open only to College Fellows and Members. 

College Exhibitions

Roll of Honour

The Roll of Honour lists all past College Officers from 1971 and Prizes, Fellowships, Awards and Medals.


Antiquarian book collection

Antiquarian RoomThe collection consists of books dating back to the fifteenth century. Most of the books were donated to the Medico-Psychological Association and the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, predecessor bodies of the College, from 1895. The donations were in the form of gifts and bequests towards the development of the Associations’ library.


The collection contains English, French and German language books on the history of psychiatry, psychology, mental illness and learning disability.

Access to the books is via our Library catalogue. The catalogue can be searched online via the College website and COPAC (Consortium of Online Public Access Catalogues).


Adopt A Book

The Royal College of Psychiatrists invites you to donate towards the conservation and repair of its antiquarian book collection.



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