|The first reference to a students' medical society at what is now the University of Birmingham is when the Queen's College Medical Society refers to its 23rd Annual Meeting held in 1899, implying that the society began in 1877. This is corroborated by the list of presidents from the 1877-1878 session to the 1898-1899 session on the last page of the Birmingham University Medical Society minute book (SOC3/A/1/2). The society was named the 'Queen's College Medical Society' until 5 December 1900, when it was proposed and carried 12 votes to 6 that the society's name be changed to 'The Birmingham University Medical Society, within which is incorporated the Queen's College Medical Society.' However, the Society still sometimes referred to themselves as the Queen's Medical Society, or Q.M.S.
In 1911, a separate organisation, the Birmingham Medical Students' Union (abbreviated to the M.S.U.), was set up. No minutes of the Union's meetings survive until 1913, but a handwritten note and inserted excerpt from a newspaper article in this surviving book detail its inception two years earlier. Neither the Birmingham University Medical Society/Q.M.S nor the Birmingham Medical Students' Union were active during the First World War.
On 9 December 1919, the first post-war meeting of the Birmingham Medical Students' Union was held. At this meeting, it was decided to revive the Medical Students Union (themselves), the Queens Medical Magazine and the Queen's Medical Society/Birmingham University Medical Society. The Society and Union thus carried on as separate organisations. At the second post-war meeting of the Union, on 2 March 1920, it was decided to alter their name to the Men Medical Students Union (abbreviated M. M. S. U.) and the Union's rules were altered accordingly to prohibit female members. On 24 November 1920, the Society also altered their Rules to only allow male members.
On 23 February 1927, the Birmingham University Medical Society and the Men Medical Students' Union amalgamated. Their new title now read 'University of Birmingham Medical Society, within which is incorporated the Queen's College Medical Society and the Men Medical Students' Union.' A handwritten note on the front page of one of the minute books (described at UB/SOC3/A/2/1) states that this amalgamation happened in October 1927, possibly because October was the beginning of the first academic year of their amalgamation.
On 23 October 1941, the Society ultimately amalgamated with the Women's Medical Society, and alterations to the Society's constitution were made to accommodate this. Before this, the only records that survive of the Women's Medical Society's meetings are from 1931-1941 (SOC3/A/3), but it is known that Martha Beatrice Webb set up the Society and she studied Medicine at Birmingham from 1902-c.1907
Members had to pay a subscription fee to join the Union and Society before amalgamation and the amalgamated Society. To join the Birmingham University Medical Society/Queen's Medical Society before it amalgamated with the Union, one had to be elected by current members. This was not necessary to join the Union and the amalgamated Society.
The Medical Students' Union (later the Men Medical Students' Union) focussed more on the social life of its members than the Birmingham University Medical Society did, with committee members representing sports, dance, and other leisure activities. After the amalgamation of the Society and the Union, this focus was kept, and becomes a much more dominant side to the Society until the last surviving minutes in 1966.
The Society, now known as MedSoc, continues to run to the present day. It has many sub-societies, such as MedSoc sports teams, societies for medical students of different religions, and societies with a specific medical interest, such as the cardiology society
|Previously collected by and stored at the Barnes Library at the University of Birmingham Medical School