RCP 500 - celebrating 500 years of the Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is on the eve of reaching an exceptional celebratory landmark.

As England’s oldest medical college, founded in 1518 by Henry VIII, we are proud of our role in improving patient care for almost 500 years. Today, we have grown to a membership of over 34,000, comprising physician associates, medical students, doctors in training, consultants and more.

How we are celebrating

To mark this special year, we have created a rich, diverse programme of events that celebrate the RCP and are a chance to look back at our achievements and also ahead at our plans for the future. We are offering opportunities for members, fellows and the wider public to get involved. Events will begin this autumn and take place throughout 2018 leading up to 23 September 2018 - the 500th anniversary of the signing of our founding charter.

We’re hosting specially themed events from conferences, museum exhibitions, lectures and talks to showcases, book launches, members’ dinners and admission events -  alongside regular events such as regional updates, which will have an RCP500 theme during the year.

Browse our  programme of RCP 500 events – booking available for some events

Check back regularly for up-to-date information  – more events will be added throughout the year.

Museum and archives

Our museum and archives features collections spanning artefacts, medical devices and portraits. For example, our anatomical tables dating back to the 17th century are rare surviving examples of human tissue preservation. We are housed in a Grade I listed headquarters, a modernist masterpiece by Sir Denys Lasdun that features innovative design and materials, and our medicinal garden holds over 1300 species of plants used in medical practice over the centuries.

Our anniversary is a chance to:

Explore more of our 500-year history

The dedicated RCP 500 website is now available, featuring rich, multi-media resources showcasing our historical collections. Visit the site now.

The Wilton Psalter. Illuminated psalter, Latin, c.1250

Get involved

What activities would you like to see the RCP organise for our birthday? We welcome your ideas for activities to take place on the day. These could be physical events on the day, or the culmination of activity across social media for example. Please email suggestions to RCP500@rcplondon.ac.uk

Our anniversary year is also a chance for you to directly support our mission and get involved in legacy opportunities. You can help us fund research and training and conserve our heritage collections. As  we look forward to the future, we ask you to contribute to our vision for improving healthcare at home and abroad in our Giving Health appeal.  


RCP 500