The Royal College of Physicians is a British professional body dedicated to improving the practice of medicine, chiefly through the accreditation of physicians by examination. Founded in 1518, it set the first international standard in the classification of diseases, the College is sometimes referred to as the Royal College of Physicians of London to differentiate it from other similarly-named bodies. Its home in Regents Park is one of the few buildings to be granted Grade I listed status. In 2016 it was announced that the North of England centre of excellence was to be base at a new building in the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool and this included apothecaries as well as physicians. It was founded as the College of Physicians when it received a Royal Charter in 1518 and it is not known when the name Royal College was first assumed or granted, but it was finally legally confirmed only in 1960. The college has been active in improving the practice of medicine since its foundation. It is a member of the UK Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and it is sometimes referred to as the Royal College of Physicians of London to differentiate it from other similarly-named bodies. It was the first College of Physicians in Britain or Ireland, the College was based at three sites in the City of London near St Pauls Cathedral, before moving to Pall Mall East, and finally on to its current location in Regents Park. The first Harveian Librarian was Christopher Merret, a fellow of the college and he was set up with a lifetime appointment that compensated him with room and board and a small stipend. He eventually lost the case, was expelled from the Fellowship, had to seek private lodgings, throughout its history the College has issued advice across the whole range of medical and health matters. College publications include the first ten editions of the London Pharmacopoeia, the College became the licensing body for medical books in the late seventeenth century, and sought to set new standards in learning through its own system of examinations. The Colleges great tradition of examining continues to this day and it is perhaps how the College is best known to the general public. Holders of the MRCP may also become Collegiate Members of the London College and/or of the other two UK colleges, Affiliate Membership of the Royal College of Physicians is a similar level of membership as Collegiate membership, but is awarded to senior doctors without MRCP. Both Collegiate Members and Affiliate Members may be considered for advancement to Fellowship of the College, the College also has Associate, Medical Student and Foundation Doctor levels of membership. g. Occupational Medicine, Pharmaceutical Medicine, and Forensic and Legal Medicine, there are also Fellows who are elected de jure, and honoris causa. The diploma of Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians is no longer awarded, from 1993 the LRCP was awarded together with the LRCS and LMSSA through the United Examining Board until this pathway to medical registration was abolished in 1999. The library aims to support the learning and information needs of the RCPs members, students, reference access to the library collections is available to all. The reading room is open Monday – Friday,9 –5, the Royal College of Physicians has had a library since its foundation in 1518, although most of the original books were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666
A College meeting in the early 19th century.
Royal College of Physicians
Portrait of a Physician in His Library by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen, one of the significant portraits in the Royal College of Physicians' collection
The Royal College of Physicians building is a Grade I Listed Building.