British Osteopathic Association

Association History

The BOA is a merger of the three professional bodies representing osteopaths and was formed in 1998. The roots of the three founder member organisations are deep.

Osteopathy commenced its history, in this country, with the first osteopaths arriving here between 1900 and 1903. Dr F J Horn established a practice at 1 Hay Hill,
London, in the spring of 1902, Dr L Willard Walker was in Scotland and Drs Jay Dunham and Harvey Foote practised in Ireland. Dr William Smith returned to the UK, 1900-01, after teaching anatomy at Kirksville and commenced practising in Dundee.

Previous to 1911, there was an organisation called the British Society of Osteopaths. In 1911 it changed its title to the British Osteopathic Association (BOA). It was the formal wing of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) for American trained osteopaths ‘to uphold the professional ethical standards and to provide the public with a list of trained and qualified osteopaths, to advance osteopathy and to maintain a professional spirit’. Members were also eligible for membership of the AOA. As in the case of other associations, membership was purely optional and there were “doubtless osteopaths with equal qualifications outside its ranks.”

The Osteopathic Association of Great Britain was set up in 1925 by osteopaths who had trained as the
BritishSchool of Osteopathy, as the Incorporated Association of Osteopaths. Their intentions were to further their academic standards, to meet on social occasions and to help raise funds for osteopathy. In 1936 the new title, Osteopathic Association of Great Britain was adopted.

In 1991, the OAGB allied itself with the British Naturopathic and Osteopathic Association (BNOA). The full merger or incorporation took place between the two associations in the Spring of 1992.

The Guild of Osteopaths was founded in 1971 for the purposes of enhancing, promoting and unifying the profession of osteopathy worldwide and to provide a range of educational and professional services for its members. Under the leadership of George Palmer and Dennis Cox, assisted by Robin Fairman and Leslie Rice, The Guild succeeded in bringing together a nucleus of highly successful osteopaths prepared to share their knowledge and experience with younger members of a growing profession.

During the period 1990-1996, following the appointment of Ian Swash as Chairman in 1990, The Guild rose from being the smallest of the osteopathic registering bodies to the second largest organisation overall. In 1991, the Oxford School of Osteopathy (founded by Ian Swash) became an affiliated
School of The Guild of Osteopaths, to be followed in 1996 by the AndrewStillCollege under the leadership of Malcolm Mayer.

At the end of 1997, the BOA made overtures to all the other Associations, the result of which was the new British Osteopathic Association in April 1998. The first election to the Council took place on
31st October 1998.

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