Dr Thomas Bewley Memorial

A memorial service for former College President Dr Thomas Bewley CBE was held at our London office last Wednesday (7 December).

Current RCPsych President Dr Adrian James presided over the event, which was attended by 67 guests in person and 33 online. He said afterwards:

“Dr Bewley was a truly remarkable person, whose life’s work will be remembered for many decades to come.”

Dr Bewley’s daughter Emma spoke about his father’s early life while his granddaughter Hannah gave a eulogy about his later life.

Other tributes were from Vanessa Cameron, past Chief Executive of the College, Dr Judith Myles, Dr Martin Mitcheson and Professor John Strang.

The speakers highlighted his role in the establishment of the Faculty of Addictions, the College Research Unit, and the writing of the history of the College.

Images of Dr Thomas Bewley

There was also a video made by the College celebrating Dr Bewley's life, which featured Professor Susan Bewley, the eldest daughter of Dr Bewley and Professor John Gunn.

In the video Susan speaks about the family’s Quaker origins in Dublin Ireland, her father’s education and training as a doctor, and his marital and social life.

Professor John Gunn speaks about Dr Bewley’s work at Tooting Bec Hospital, his work with the Research Committee of the College, and the establishment of the College Research Unit, and his writing of the official book on the history of the College, Madness to Mental Illness: History of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, published in 2008.

There was a display in the Antiquarian Room that featured materials about Thomas Bewley from our archives collection, and items brought by Susan from the family archives. Items on display included his published works, photographs, and some chess books.

Dr Bewley was born in 1926 and died in June this year. He was the first Sub-Dean of the College, and then Dean from 1977-1982. He was President of the College from 1984-1987. And was awarded an honorary CBE in 1988.

As well as his book on the writing history of the College, he edited the Handbook for Inceptors and Trainees in Psychiatry for the Education Committee in 1980.

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