A SOCIETY which is recognised as the oldest active association in Colchester is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

The Colchester Medical Society, which was founded in 1774 by Robert Richardson Newell, is marking its 250th birthday this year. 

To commemorate the occasion the group has organised a range of exciting events which are due to take place throughout the year.

A spokesman for the Colchester Medical Society said: "This year, the society has arranged many exciting events to commemorate and celebrate its historic anniversary.

"At the beginning of February, a prestigious dinner was held at Wivenhoe House Hotel to inaugurate the new presidents of the society, Mr Greg Wynn, consultant surgeon and Dr Melanie Carter, GP.

“In March, there will be a day of lectures exploring the history of medicine in the local area as well as a chance to display some of the more unusual historic artefacts of the society.

“In May, the society will be hosted by Beth Chatto’s gardens where walking tours will include talks on gardening for health.

“Other events planned for 2024 are tree planting, wine tasting, charity events and a summer ball at the Talbooth in Dedham.”

Robert Richardson Newell was a doctor living and practising in Head Street, where a blue plaque now denotes where his house originally stood.

The aim of forming the society was to improve contact and cooperation among local doctors as well as sharing advances in medicine, maintaining good ethical standards and organising regular educational meetings.

Gazette: President - Mr Greg Wynn is one of the new presidents at the societyPresident - Mr Greg Wynn is one of the new presidents at the society (Image: Colchester Medical Society)

Dr Newell then instituted the Essex and Herts Medical Benevolent Society, a charitable organisation to help doctors and their dependants who had fallen onto hard financial times.

He was instrumental in setting up the Humane Society for the resuscitation of people who had nearly drowned.

The society’s resuscitation equipment consisted of bellows and tubes for injecting tobacco smoke in the victims’ rectum, which was apparently successful in many cases.

Gazette: Celebrating - new presidents Greg Wynn and Dr Melanie CarterCelebrating - new presidents Greg Wynn and Dr Melanie Carter (Image: Colchester Medical Society)

A spokesman for the Colchester Medical Society added: “Among the first eight local doctors who joined the society were Dr Eric Hossack, who had been physician to Fredric, Prince of Wales, whose son became King George III, and a man-midwife Dr John Sterling, elected to the Royal Society for his knowledge of mathematics.

“When Dr Newell retired, his medical colleagues presented him with a solid silver bowl that now resides among Colchester City’s Plate in the Moot Hall."