From the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important.

Norwich first welcomed the Society in 1961, when this second of the triennial home meetings was hosted by Norman and Alice Townsley; also present was founder-member Mr A J Blaxland. Operations were watched in the theatres opened by the Queen four years previously, replacing those destroyed by enemy action. Some giant urinary calculi were demonstrated, together with relevant X-rays; the Norwich Stone Collection is of course famous in its own right. Mr McKee, an early pioneer of hip arthroplasty, showed a film of his technique using acrylic bonding. The Diamond Jubilee meeting in 1984, hosted by Alan and Doreen Green, had a record attendance of 76 and began with a visit to the newly opened private BUPA Hospital. Choral Evensong was attended in Norwich Cathedral (as it was at the later meeting in 2002). The scientific meeting the next day was held in the Teaching Centre of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and included a clinico-pathological conference, an erudite account of skin conditions of surgical interest, the Musings of a Dean, and a broad spectrum of other papers including the Norwich Union address, on Reflux Gastritis, delivered by Professor W H Brummelkamp from Amsterdam, the first overseas guest of the Society. Senior physician Dr Anthony Batty Shaw (a noted medical historian) talked on Norfolk’s Surgical Heritage – from Flint to Stainless Steel, tracing Norwich’s surgical progress over four millennia, including early she-surgeons. The meeting ended with lunch at the Wroxham home of Norman and Alice Townsley.

The 2002 meeting in Norwich was held in the magnificent new steel-and-glass Norfolk and Norwich hospital built under the Private Finance Initiative. The Imaging Department demonstrated its Picture Archiving and Communication System which dispenses with hard copy and was developed at a cost of several hundred million pounds. PACS was to be rolled out to all NHS hospitals in due course. Papers were heard on this and other topics, and the new facilities were toured, including the Day Unit and the circular theatre recovery area. A restful final lunch was enjoyed at the riverside home of hosts David and Diana Ralphs, ending two days which had begun with a visit to the Lotus car factory.

The images above depict Norwich’s Cathedral (Left) and Castle (Right)