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Charing Cross Hospital Medical School


Charing Cross Hospital Medical School

Charing Cross Hospital Medical School (CXHMS) is the oldest of the constituent medical schools of Imperial College School of Medicine.


It was founded in 1818, as part of the Charing Cross Hospital, by Dr Benjamin Golding, to meet the needs of the poor who flocked to the cities in search of work in the new factories. This was a revolutionary notion at a time when London doctors mainly practised privately. The hospital was well patronised, and soon had to move to larger premises in Agar Street (near Villiers Street, off the Strand), where it first became known as Charing Cross in 1834.

Buildings on this site were expanded several times, but by the late 1950s it became clear that no further expansion would be possible in the area, and the hospital would have to move. Two sites were identified – a rebuild of the Fulham Hospital in west London, and a new-build site at Northwick Park in Harrow, north London. Whilst many staff supported the idea of moving to the northern suburbs, the Fulham site was selected and building began in the late 1960s. Northwick Park Hospital was built as well, but to a reduced budget.

The new hospital opened in 1973, still known as Charing Cross Hospital. To avoid confusion, for the first ten years, correspondence was referred to "Charing Cross Hospital at Fulham". The discrepancy continues to have ramifications to this day, as patients from outside London (and sometimes new students) arrive in the Strand and begin to look around for the hospital. (Getting lost appears to be something of a feature of CX students, as one of their most famous alumni is Dr Livingstone, of “…I presume” fame, who was missing on expedition in Africa for five years).

Medical advances

Charing Cross remains a hospital on the forefront of medicine; in recent times pioneering the clinical use of CT scanning, reflective of its position as one of the most important neuroscience centres in London; and advances in oncology and chemotherapy. Students of the medical school have benefited from this expertise, with many taking a research interest in these areas during their training.

New hospital

From the opening of the new hospital in 1973, the medical school was contained entirely within the hospital tower (in the east wing laboratory block), but in 1976 the medical school's own building (the Reynolds Building) was completed. Housing the CXHMS students’ union (now part of Imperial College School of Medicine Students' Union, it saw the start of many ongoing traditions, (including the annual "Invasion of London", in which garishly-dressed students persuade commuters and other city folk to donate to charity), most of which seem to centre around the medical school bar.[1] The Reynolds bar houses a mysterious elephant/dinosaur skull (provenance unknown), as well as many other items of memorabilia. A large brass Maltese cross was brought from the old (Strand) site to the bar to serve as the students' emblem. The cross was from the top of the dome in the Strand building and was rescued in 1973. It spent the next 4 years under the bed of a student and was given to the Medical School in 1978 when the student qualified. Newly Qualified doctors now "Sign the Cross" on graduation, making it a legend in our lifetime! Seeing as the nearby St Mary's Hospital Medical School had a 2ft cast of Paddington Bear in their bar (affectionately known as Gladys'), it became a regular occurrence for teams of students to attempt to capture the rival emblem.


In 1984, CXHMS merged with local rivals Westminster Hospital Medical School to form Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (CXWMS). This merger took place against the background of a series of mergers between London medical schools in the early 1980s, which foreshadowed the second, larger round of mergers in the late 1990s. During this round, CXWMS merged with Imperial College, London (whose medical department was at St Mary's Hospital Medical School), the National Heart and Lung Institute at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School to form Imperial College School of Medicine.


List of Deans

Dean Degrees Took Office Left Office
Benjamin Golding MD 1821 1856
Henry Hancock FRCS 1856 1867
W Hyde Salter MD FRCP FRS 1867 1868
Julius Pollock MD FRCP 1868 1874
Francis Hird FRCS 1874 1883
J Mitchell Bruce MA MD FRCP 1883 1890
Stanley Boyd MBBS FRCS 1890 1895
Hubert Montague Murray MD FRCP 1895 1901
HF Waterhouse MD CM FRCS 1901 1906
Christopher Addison MD FRCS 1906 1907
FC Wallis MBBS FRCS 1907 1910
CF Myers Ward LRCP MRCS 1910 1911
William Hunter MD CM FRCS FRS(Ed) 1911 1917
William J Fenton MD FRCP 1917 1927
FH Young OBE MD FRCP 1927 1930
Eric A Crook MA MCh FRCS 1930 1940
RA Hickling BA MD FRCP 1940 1944
HWC Vines MA MD 1944 1950
Edwin C Warner BSc MD FRCP 1950 1956
William J Hamilton DSc MD FRCOG FRS(Ed) 1956 1962
Seymour JR Reynolds MA MBBChir DMRE 1962 1976
Tony W Glenister CBE TD MBBS PhD DSc 1976 1989
John EH Pendower MBBS FRCS Barrister-at-Law 1989 1993
Roger M Greenhalgh MA MD MChir FRCS 1993 1997
M Whitehouse MA MD FRCP FRCP(Edin) FRCR 1997

See also


  1. ^ The Reynolds Bar – ICSMSU

External links

  • Website
  • Lists of Charing Cross Hospital Medical School students

Video clips

  • Second Health London on YouTube

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