History of ACP

The Association of Clinical Pathologists was established in 1927, originally as the British Pathologists Association, and changed to its current name in 1930.  It is the oldest professional body of pathologists in the United Kingdom, and celebrated its 85th year in 2012.  In W.D. Forster's 'A Short History of Clinical Pathology' (Livingstone, 1961) S.C. Dyke indicated the Association was established for four main reasons:

Dr Sydney Dyke

  • To improve the conditions of pathology practice and improve the status of clinical pathologists;
  • To secure clinical pathologists as being equal to other consultants;
  • To encourage and assist medical schools and post-graduate education so that suitably trained doctors could assume charge of hospital laboratories throughout the United Kingdom;
  • To establish where members could exchange views on work, research etc.


The Association holds these founding principles core to its business today.

The family of our Founder, Dr S.C. Dyke, kindly donated many of his papers to the Association after his death.   A number of these papers relate to speeches given by Dr Dyke, though it is not clear to whom these speeches were delivered.   Three of these speeches were published in the ACP news (the official magazine of the Association) in 2012 and they give a fascinating insight into the history of the Association.

Genesis describes the factors that led to the inception of the Association.

Coroners’ post mortems and the National Hospital Service demonstrates the role that the Association has played in developing standards for autopsy examinations.   Many of the issues that we relevant to Dr Dyke around the start of World War II when he wrote his speech remain relevant today.

Some developments in medicine over 40 years neatly encapsulates that changes in medical practice in general and pathology practice in particular that Dr Dyke witnessed during his career.