The Moynihan Chirurgical Club
The Moynihan Chirurgical Club was the first of its kind to be founded in the British Isles. In 1909, the famous surgeon Lord Moynihan of Leeds wrote to a number of provincial surgeons:
“…it has been in my mind to suggest to a few of the provincial hospital surgeons the need for the formation of a small and informal “Society of Clinical Surgery”. The object of the Society would be to hold meetings, say, twice yearly of two days duration at one of the Hospitals as the guests of one or more of the Staff. Operations could be performed, demonstration on cases and specimens held, and general conversation and discussion follow.
Such meetings should ensure closer friendship amongst us and make for better work.”
The Moynihan Chirurgical Club had one main aim:
“The activities of the Club shall be directed towards the advancement of surgery by visiting centre of surgical activity at home and abroad and by a free and informal interchange of ideas on the work seen.”
Today, the Moynihan Club has many members from a variety of surgical specialties who enjoy the twice yearly meetings to develop their knowledge of their own and other areas of surgery.
Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan was born in Malta in 1865 and died in 1936. He trained at the Royal Naval College. He had originally intended to follow his father into the army but decided that the Moynihans “had done enough killing. It’s time they mended their ways” (2) he continued his medical training in Leeds Medical School and the University of London achieving his M.B., M.S.., in 1887 and subsequently his FRCS in 1890 and Master of Surgery in 1893 where he was awarded the gold medal (1). He never failed an exam and he won every prize available to him.
This letter led to the first meeting of the Moynihan Club which was held in July 1909. It included an informal discussion about “the need for a Society of Clinical Surgery and the methods of forming it”.
It was the first Club of its kind in the British Isles. In Manchester in 1911, it was decided that it would initially be known as “The Chirurgical Club”. In 1929, in recognition to Lord Moynihan who had recently been honoured by the King by being raised to the peerage, the Club changed its name to “The Moynihan Chirurgical Club”.
The Moynihan Club meets twice a year. The “away” meeting is in the Spring and the home meeting is in the United Kingdom in the Autumn. On a few occasions, meetings have taken place alongside other conferences such as the International Society of Surgery (1929 Warsaw, 1932 Madrid, 1935 Cairo) and the International Congress of Surgery (1951 Paris). More recently, the Moynihan Club visited Australia at an Association of Surgeons meeting.