Our first member

The IBMS has a complete formal record going back to 1912, including the very first register that records the membership, neatly filled out in copperplate ink script

Member 00001 - Richard Muir (1862-1931)

In 1877, at the age of 14, Richard Muir enrolled at the University of Edinburgh for the UK's first ever pathology classes. Entirely self-taught, Muir worked with many eminent pathologists including German Sims Woodhead – later to be the President of the ‘Laboratory Assistants Association’. Muir worked in the days when histological sections were shaved off using hand-held knives and manual dexterity, and there were no solid bacteriological culture media.

An accurate observer and careful author, Muir became a notable histological artist in the days before photomicrography and was the author of the pathology element in the fifth edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Richard Muir was a great teacher and he produced some stunning examples of what could be regarded as the powerpoint presentations of their day, amazing illustrations showing the key elements of disease processes.

Muir was given the academic title of University Demonstrator of Pathological Methods and in 1908 was elected a member of the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Both Albert Norman and Richard Muir worked in Edinburgh during the time the idea of forming a professional association was developed and both were key in realising that idea - becoming founding members in 1912. Edinburgh held the first professional examinations in 1921 in pathological and bacteriological technique.

The City of Edinburgh has been closely connected to the Institute from its foundation back in 1912. Many of those who were central to the foundation of the Institute and the development of biomedical science as a profession lived and worked in Edinburgh including Albert Norman, Richard Muir, John McLean, James Lorrain Smith, and Dr German Sims Woodhead.

You can view some of Richard Muir's histological illustrations in our facebook gallery