Journal Mobile

A Cameron
Journal Issue: 
Volume 37: Issue 2: 2007




The  Scottish  Registration  Act  of  1854  introduced  compulsory  civil registration of births, deaths and marriages under the GROS.  The Royal College of  Physicians  of  Edinburgh  had  long  campaigned  for  such  legislation, but  was dissatisfied with certain sections of the Act. The College possessed strong views
on  how  causes  of  death  ought  to  be  recorded,  on  the  need  for  a  medical Superintendent  of  Statistics  to  tabulate  and  analyse  the  causes  of  death  for  the GROS,  on  whether  or  not  doctors  should  be  fined  for  failing  to  provide certificates of cause of death, and on the importance of including meteorological data  in  the  GROS’s  reports.   Its  Fellows  accordingly  strove  to  have  the  new registration measures tailored to their specifications.  Drawing upon the College minutes, the GROS archives, and other contemporary sources, this article explains how the College succeeded in influencing some, but not all of these aspects of vital registration in Scotland.