October 1984

The Barber-Surgeons of London

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas.

Arch Surg. 1984;119(10):1171-1175. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1984.01390220053012

• The Company of the Barber-Surgeons of London was formed by the union of the Company of Barbers and the Fellowship of Surgeons In 1540. It marked one of the great milestones in English surgery. The barbers had carried out minor surgery such as bleeding and lancing of abscesses, while the more erudite surgeons attempted to evolve some principles in surgery, and were involved in the mutilating surgery of warfare. The Barber-Surgeons became responsible for instigating teaching programs and the licensing of men to practice the art of surgery; they also appointed surgeons to the armed forces. An inevitable rift between these two different types of people occurred in 1745. The surgeons broke away and formed the Company of Surgeons, which, in 1800, became the Royal College of Surgeons.

(Arch Surg 1984;119:1171-1175)