Royal Docks Community School – Visit to Barber-Surgeons’ Hall


On the initiative of Andrew Overton, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers and Livery Schools Link, 21 year 9 pupils from the school visited Barber-Surgeons’ Hall on the 12th March 2015. The purpose of the visit was to give the pupils an appreciation of potential careers in medicine and an awareness of the history and traditions of the Livery movement, in particular the Worshipful Company of Barbers, and the City of London, as well to inculcate ambition and aspiration.

After an introduction by Mr Overton, Laura Ingham, acting manager for Outreach for Medicine, informed the visitors of potential medical careers, the academic requirements needed to obtain appropriate college places and the Extended Medical Degree Programme (EMDP) run by King’s College, London.

The students then had an informal discussion with Barber Emeritus Mr William Shand MA MD FRCS FRCSEd, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Barbers and were given a tour of Barber-Surgeons’ Hall by the Barbers’ Archivist, Vicky West.  They then had the opportunity to try hands-on medical activities, blood sampling and suturing, under the direction of Miss Ingham and the King’s EMDP Ambassadors. The visit culminated with an open Q & A session.  The following feedback was received from pupils:

Alisha Bossman – “We learnt many wonderful facts about past midwifes, doctors, nurses etc. The visit was so inspiring and increased my knowledge and understanding.”

Shufaa Sharif – “Our visit to Barber-Surgeons’ Hall was very good and I have learnt a huge amount about studying medicine. This was useful to all of us because the speeches inspired us to aim higher. We also realised that we don’t need to go to a private school to go to a top university; all it takes is hard work. The three different activities gave us a good understanding of how it is going to be like for us.”

Chelsea Vu – “We did three activities that we acknowledged as a fascinating experience. These were having a discussion with a surgeon, a tour and learning the history of the hall and exchanging turns to do experiences, such as stitching wounds and taking blood.”

Lauren Deller Neeson  – “The trip I went on was amazing and gave me inspiration to be more involved with medical care such as first aid. My favourite part of the trip was when we got taught how to suture and take blood. This was really fun because it gave you a taste of medicine. Overall, I think this trip was brilliant because you were told about medical pathways and types of careers, such as surgeons, nurses, GP etc. The staff/people there were really polite and nice.”

Yasmin Boyce-Carr  – “Whilst on the Barbers’ visit I learnt many elements about surgery and many surgeon’s experiences. I got the chance to talk to many people, sample blood, perform stitches and have an exceptional tour of the hall. It was outstanding and I now feel more educated with more knowledge about surgery performances and the history of barbery and surgery. I am now considering going into medicine in the future.”

Liveryman Simon O’Leary,  Worshipful Company of Barbers