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The history of the RCVS

Key dates

1844 RCVS was formed after the Royal Charter was granted. Veterinary practice became a profession distinguished by the title "veterinary surgeon". Thomas Turner was the first President of the RCVS, from 1844-1851.
1844 Granting of the Coat of Arms.
1853 Acquired the lease of 10 Red Lion Square. Prior to 1853 the RCVS had no home and council meetings were held in the Freemasons’ Tavern.
1881 The first Veterinary Surgeons Act was passed, which confirmed the Charters and authorised the establishment of a Register and imposed certain restrictions on unauthorised people.
1883 Acquired the freehold of 10 Red Lion Square.
1914 Further Royal Charter was granted.
1920 The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1881 Amendment Act imposed an annual fee of £1 and 1s on all members practising in the UK.
1922 Aleen Cust became the first woman to become an MRCVS.
1939 Acquired 9 Red Lion Square.
1940 Relocated to Wembley and then to Harrogate, with the exception of the Library which continued to operate from Red Lion Square until 1941.  The building in Red Lion Square was hit by bombs on 10 May 1941.
1948 The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1948 set up the current system under which veterinary degrees awarded by UK universities may be recognised. The degrees of the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and London were recognised.
1949 A Supplementary Veterinary Register was set up for existing practitioners who did not hold relevant formal qualifications.
1952 On her accession to the throne, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted her patronage to the RCVS.
1960 Moved out of Red Lion Square into temporary accommodation in Kensington.
1962 Moved into 32 Belgrave Square.
1966 The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 consolidated and updated all previous legislation.
1967 Supplemental Charter revoked all the previous Supplemental Charters. It restated and consolidated provision of the previous Charters which were not covered by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
1994 The RCVS celebrated its 150th anniversary with a wide range of events under the Charter 150 banner.
1995 Moved into Belgravia House, Horseferry Road.
1999 Council voted to allow lay people to sit as observers with its Preliminary Investigation Committee.
2000 New edition of the Guide to Professional Conduct - for the first time available on the RCVS website to the public as well as the profession.
2002 Veterinary Nurses Council established.
2005 Practice Standards Scheme established.
2007 Professional Development Phase introduced for new veterinary graduates.
2007 Non-statutory Register of Veterinary Nurses opened.
2010 First veterinary nurse takes seat on RCVS Council.
2012 Guides to professional conduct are replaced by new Codes of Professional Conduct for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.
2013 Legislative Reform Order (LRO) to reconstitute RCVS disciplinary committees separately from RCVS Council came into force on 6 April amending the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.
2015 Supplemental Charter of 2015 The Charter was granted on 17 February 2015.

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Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust (trading as RCVS Knowledge) is a registered Charity No. 230886
Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 598443
Registered office: Belgravia House, 62 - 64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF