History of the Sheffield Medico-chirurgical Society
It was founded as 'The Medical Society of Sheffield and Neighbourhood' by Sir Arnold James Knight. He was the driving force behind the establishment of this medical society in Sheffield and he was its first president. In spite of thriving under presidentship of eminent persons such as Dr de Bartholeme 1849 it sadly ground to a halt theafter 26 years due to waning interest and dwindling membership.
The Medico-Chirurgical Society came into being in 1869, as a re-launch of the original medical Society, at a meeting of the profession held at the Medical School and chaired by Dr Mariano Martin de Bartolomé
. A fugitive from political troubles in Spain, he emerged as an eminent figure in the history of medicine in Sheffield. He was elected President for the first year. The new body formally adopted the rules of the defunct Medical Society of 1841 and effectively became its direct successor.
For many years the Sheffield Medico-Chirurgical Society enjoyed much prestige and exerted a great deal of influence. It was the only educational vehicle for exchange of views and information between Medical Men. It admitted its first woman member - Dr Evelyn Milestone !!! (a milestone indeed) in 1907. This was a year ahead of the first woman medical student entering Sheffield University faculty of medicine. For many years the society provided the only regular meetings for doctors of all branches of the profession to share their experiences and insights. In addition it became the voice of the profession with town and other authorities on issues relating to health and had an important input into the management and teaching within the Medical School. Its officers also played a significant role in the creation of the Faculty of Medicine when the university was granted its charter in 1905.
It was customary in the latter part of the 19th century to have an annual outing at the end of each session. A visits to the countryside, sampling the pleasures of train journeys and visiting nearby stately homes were undertaken. Photo shows a visit to Hardwick Hall in 1892.
Apart from a break during the years of conflict in World War I and World War II when only annual meetings were held (many members were on active service), the society has met on (most) alternate Thursday evenings from October to March since its foundation.
Times have changed and with a massive increase in specialisation there has developed a commensurate insularity of each specialist group. The Medico-Chirurgical Society remains the only forum in
Sheffield where members of all branches of the medical and allied professions can meet to discuss topics of general interest.