Archive of the North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society

  • Reference
      GB 133 OGS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.6 li.m. 38 items The early volumes in this archive have been rebound.
  • Location
      This collection is located at the University Archive and Records Centre main University Library, Burlington St., Manchester.

Scope and Content

The archive comprises the main records of the Society's governing bodies i.e minutes of Council (OGS/1) and of the ordinary meetings (OGS/2) from the Society's foundation in 1890 to the present day (gaps exist for the 1940s to the 1970s). There are also Society rulebooks (OGS/4) , a small number of financial records (OGS/5) and occasional publications of the Society (OGS/6), including a brief history of Society by Arthur Gemmell. The collection includes the more recent Transactions, (1993-2008) published by the Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

The origins of the Society lay in a circular letter issued by William Sinclair, David Lloyd Roberts, James Braithwaite, Charles Wright, John Wallace, and Henry Briggs advocating a regional association for obstetricians and gynaecologists in the north of England. This proposal had been initiated by William Japp Sinclair (1846-1912), professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Owens College, Manchester, who had previously canvassed colleagues in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds about the desirability of such a society. Similar societies were already in existence in London, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A meeting was then held at the Queen's Hotel, Manchester on 20 December 1889, which established a provisional committee to take the proposal forward. A further meeting was held on 17 January 1890, which drew up rules for the Society, and elected its office holders. The North of England Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society's main objective was agreed to be "the promotion of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Medicine and Surgery". James Wallace was elected president, and he was supported by vice presidents, a honorary treasurer, a honorary secretary and a Council. Local secretaries were appointed for Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool, later to be joined by Sheffield and Hull.

Ordinary meetings were held monthly between October and June of each session, and typically these would include demonstrations of clinical specimens, discussions of case-studies, lectures and debates. As well as their educational value, the meetings had a convivial purpose, and would conclude with a dinner. Meetings were held at locations in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield by rotation, although Newcastle upon Tyne, Hull and Chester also served as occasional venues. The Society also held occasional joint meetings with other obstetrical /gynaecological associations. A number of distinguished obstetricians and gynaecologists have served as presidents of the Society including: William Japp Sinclair (1846-1912), Archibald Donald (1860-1937), William Fothergill (1865-1926) and William Blair Bell (1871-1936).

The Society continues to be active, holding several meetings a year at various locations in the North.


The archive arranged into the following series:

  • OGS/1 Minutes of Council
  • OGS/2 Minutes of Ordinary Meetings
  • OGS/3 Attendance registers
  • OGS/4 Rulebooks
  • OGS/5 Financial records
  • OGS/6 Publications and related material

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Custodial History

It is believed that the archive was transferred to the University of Manchester Medical Library at an unknown date. It was later managed as part of the Manchester Medical Collection, but is now treated as an independent archive. An accrual of more recent records was deposited at the JRUL in November 2010.

Related Material

The Library also has custody of the records of archives of the Manchester Medical Society , Manchester Surgical Society and Pathological Society of Manchester.

On-line catalogue for Obstetrical Society of London is available: GB 404 OSL. The archive of the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society is maintained by the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.