RCOG Heritage 6: Fantastic Finds for Friday #4: BCOG robe designs

Not a totally new find, and maybe one you may have seen before, but time spent on a bit of recataloguing and repackaging often brings to light items which have long lain hidden in their protective boxes. Among the College Special Collection of papers, at reference S68, are no more than seven items, varying sizes of sketches and watercolour drawings. They depict designs envisaged by College founder, Professor William Blair-Bell for a badge and ceremonial robe for the President of the then British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and for a ceremonial robe for Fellows of the College. The drawings bear no date, but can be dated at 1931 using corresponding drawings and papers held in the College records – two years after the founding of the College, the time of its relocation from Manchester to London and at the height of Blair-Bell’s presidency.

Blair-Bell’s love of ceremony and regalia has been noted before, and these drawings were commissioned by him and created in conjunction with him with a spirit of wanting to establish the College on equal footing with the long established Physicians and Surgeons. They were personal drawings kept by Blair-Bell and handed down to his nephew, Sir Arthur Bell, President of the RCOG, 1960-1963, eventually donated to the College by Sir Arthur’s widow.

Three of the most vibrant and beautifully drawn of the designs are reproduced here, still attractive and well-preserved after 80 years for us to enjoy.S68-badge S68_Fellows robe S68_robe

They are available for viewing by appointment in the RCOG Archive.

Penny Hutchins, Archivist

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