President of British Medical Association Opens New Museum at University of Worcester

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The President of the British Medical Association will return to the organisation’s founding place to officially open a new museum this week.

The BMA was founded in the boardroom of the former Worcester Royal Infirmary (WRI) by Sir Charles Hastings in 1832. The building has since been transformed as the University of Worcester’s City Campus.

Two years ago the University was awarded £537,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a new medical museum in the City Campus to celebrate the building’s history and the stories of all those who worked at the former hospital.

Professor The Baroness Hollins, President of the BMA, will formally open the museum during a special ceremony on Friday, April 26th at 5pm.

Baroness Hollins is Professor of the Psychiatry of Learning Disability at St George’s, University of London and a crossbench life peer in the House of Lords since October 2010. She was President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2005 to 2008 and was appointed President of the British Medical Association in 2012.

Professor David Green, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to provide the home for the new Infirmary Museum. This brilliant museum brings the distinguished history of the patients, nurses and doctors at the former Worcester Royal Infirmary to life in a marvellous way. It will provide inspiration and insight to thousands of children every year and tackles fascinating historical and medical questions in a profoundly modern way.”   

Museum Curator Catriona Smellie added: “We are thrilled that Baroness Hollins is able to formally open this museum on the site where the BMA was founded over 180 years ago. We are very much looking forward to showing her around; not only the exhibition, but also the whole building to show how it has been sympathetically restored.”

The Infirmary is a permanent, interactive exhibition, exploring the history of the former Infirmary through Worcester’s medical collections and oral testimonies of medical and health professionals. The museum is the result of a partnership between the University and Charles Hastings Education Centre, a medical education charity located at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

The museum has been proving popular with local people and schoolchildren with hundreds of people having visited since it opened to the public in August 2012.

Baroness Hollins will also enjoy a tour of The Hive, the new joint university and public library developed by the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council, as well as other parts of the University, before hosting a dinner in the evening at the new University Arena.