Changes to the Poynter Lecture

9th December 2016
To all BSHM members

Dear BSHM member,
Changes to the Poynter Lecture
We are writing to let you know about some changes we are proposing for the future programme of the Society and to seek your comments and suggestions.
You will be aware that in the past the Society has organised two principal events: the biennial Congress, which in 2017 will be held in Edinburgh, and the Poynter lecture which was last given on 12th October 2016 in the Wellcome Conference Centre in London. To date the lecture facilities have been provided free of charge by the Wellcome Library and accordingly the lecture has been free to members. However, our hosts at the Wellcome Library have recently advised:
“It is with regret that the Wellcome Library has decided that it can no longer host the Poynter Lecture from 2018. The library has no meeting spaces of its own to host public lectures and has to hire facilities in the Wellcome Collection for the purpose. Since 2008 support for the Lecture has been funded from the Library’s operational budget in the form of room hire charges and catering costs. Sadly, we no longer feel that this expenditure is justified in the context of the range of competing claims on the budget.”
This reflects the pressure on budgets with which members will be all too familiar. However, it offers the opportunity for a new format which we hope will prove even more attractive to members. This year’s Poynter lecture by Sam Alberti was of a high standard and the video, which can be viewed on the internet, is proving popular. However, the Poynter lecture has no endowment and the Society would not be able to afford the cost of hiring a suitable lecture theatre for an evening lecture in 2018. We are therefore required to consider other options and we believe that our new suggested format will greatly appeal to members.
In September 2018, we propose to hold a half day BSHM History of Medicine symposium in the Franks Room of the Wellcome Conference centre. The room can accommodate up to 70 delegates and would be affordable if we make a modest charge to delegates.
The plan is that the symposium, which would be preceded by the Society’s O&R meeting and AGM would comprise short talks and a demonstration/ workshop. Our suggested theme is “Medical history archives”.
For 2020 we are considering holding an event outside London and we are having preliminary discussion with our affiliated society in Sheffield.
We look forward to hearing your views and would be grateful if these could be sent to the secretary (secretary@bshm.org) by 15th January 2017.
With best wishes for the festive season
Iain Macintyre (president),
Chris Derrett (vice president),
Martyn Thomas (secretary),
Mike Collins (treasurer)