The Birmingham Medical Institute was founded in 1875, on the initiative of the internationally renowned surgeon, Mr Sampson Gamgee. Its first home was in Queen’s College, the forerunner of what is today the University of Birmingham Medical School, but in 1880 moved to its own premises in Edmund Street in the City Centre.
As a medical charity, a status it still maintains, it was the first medical library in the West Midlands, based on an original benefaction of the General Hospital physician, Dr Fabian Evans. The Institute soon developed into the region’s major centre for postgraduate medical education, with meetings covering the spectrum of medical specialisms.
For many years the Institute also supported the scientific and medical activities of the Birmingham Clinico-Pathological Society and the Midland Medical Society. A further move to Great Charles Street in 1924 was followed by the transfer to the present building in 1957, through the generosity of the Calthorpe Estates.
Some of the major figures of the history of medicine in Birmingham have been President of the Institute, including Mr Sampson Gamgee, Mr Lawson Tait, Dr Robert Saundby, Professor Sir Gilbert Barling Bt CB CBE, Professor Sir Thomas Chavasse, Dr Henry Featherstone OBE TD and Professor Peter Gilroy Bevan CBE.
Mr Sampson Gamgee
In its one hundred and thirty four history, the institute continues to be a champion of postgraduate medical education, a social centre for the profession and a focus for the heritage and history of medicine in the City. The Sampson Gamgee Library housed in the ground floor, holds more than one and a half thousand volumes, mostly in the field of the history of medicine.