St Mary's Hospital Medical School

St Mary's Hospital Medical School

St Mary’s is the youngest of the schools of Imperial College, London, founded in 1854 as part of the new hospital in Paddington. St Mary’s Hospital, London was traditionally the refuge of sons of Welsh farmers and miners, stumbling off the train at Paddington to study medicine in the big smoke; and consequently became renowned for its prowess on the sporting field, with the rugby club actually predating the Rugby Football Union. The sporting traditions of Mary’s have been a constant theme throughout its history, and the school can count amongst its alumni the Welsh rugby captain JPR Williams (commemorated in the annual ICSM vs. Imperial Varsity match, the JPR Williams Cup); and Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, and after whom the new lecture theatre is named. Unfortunately, the Boxing Club has been disbanded, and so no longer holds its bouts in the Outpatients department.

Mary’s has an equally rich history in the arts. Despite a faltering music society (which has nevertheless taken off in recent years, following the influx of talent from Charing Cross and Westminster), the dramatic society staged performances of operettas, which on occasion were graced with a royal visit. This royal association continued until recent times with the Queen Mother being the patron of the soirée – the post opera comedy night – until her death in 2002 (the post has remained unfilled following its failure to be won in the post-soirée raffle of the same year). If there is one thing for which Mary’s will always be remembered, however, it is the work of Alexander Fleming; the father of antibiotics, following his discovery of penicillin at the hospital in 1928. The room in which the discovery took place can be seen from the road outside the medical school.

Mary’s continued comparatively unmoved by the other nomadic medical schools in the area, until its merger with Imperial College in 1988, and the foundation of Imperial College School of Medicine in 1997 by the merger with Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School‎.

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