History of the Royal Medical Foundation

Dr John PropertIn the 1840’s, doctors were at the forefront of change. The population of the UK had almost doubled between 1801 and 1841. Conditions were generally very poor and in Manchester, the average age at death in 1843 was 24.2 years. Doctors were not trained as we expect today; Physicians qualified by apprenticeship to other doctors. Perhaps the worst part of a doctor’s predicament was exposure to disease. They regularly attended patients they could not cure and often fell victim to their own ignorance.

The Royal Medical Foundation

In 1855, John Propert founded the charity now known as the Royal Medical Foundation. It was administered by an Act of Parliament and originally aimed to provide housing for 100 pensioners (doctors or their widows) and a school for their sons. The charity and school both grew and proved highly successful and the school is now co-educational. In a restructuring in 2000, the RMF was separated from the school by means of a Statutory Instrument.

Today, the work of the RMF perpetuates the vision of the Founder and continues to reflect the community values that were originally established. The charity is a Company Limited by Guarantee and its offices are located within Epsom College campus. Although it no longer supplies housing, it still provides pensions for retired doctors and their families who are in financial hardship, one-off grants when emergency help is needed and also assistance with school fees to maintain educational stability in moments of crisis.