History arrow_drop_down

Early history

The Association was founded in 1950 and first met on March 30th, probably the second nephrology society in the world, after the Societe de Pathologie Renale, which met in Paris in February 1949. The 30 attendees at the first meeting of the Association included urologists and obstetricians as well as physiologists and physicians. Arnold Osman became the first president. The Association met 4 times annually at the CIBA Foundation rooms in London. Early on, a pattern of inviting distinguished speakers from overseas was established, beginning with Homer Smith in July 1950. In 1953 the Association organised the first international meeting on all aspects of kidney function and disease.

After a brief flirtation with one of the original Kolff machines after the Second World War, dialysis was reintroduced into the UK in Leeds in 1956, and in 1959 five new units opened. In October 1959 the Executive Committee rejected a proposal to devote a meeting to the artificial kidney, although the following year this became a topic of interest at what became the first meeting of the International Society of Nephrology in Evian. During the 1960s the EDTA became the venue for presentation and discussion of dialysis and it retained a low profile at Renal Association meetings through the 1960s. The Association grew, 91 of 235 members attending the January 1969 meeting.

Much more information was compiled by Professor Stewart Cameron for the fiftieth anniversary of the Association, and published as a booklet, The First Half-Century of the Renal Association, 1950-2000. It is also available in sections as pdf files from the foot of this page.

Links to further information on the history of nephrology in the UK and more widely are available on our links page.

The history was further updated by John Feehally and Christopher Winearls, and published as a booklet at the time of the RA 60th anniversary in 2010. This can also be found as a pdf at the foot of this page.

Professor Dick White has written a history of the BAPN, The First Thirty Years, 1973-2003, which can be downloaded from the BAPN website.

Past presidents

A Osman1950-56
RA McCance1956-59
FR Winton1959-62
CR Wilson1962-65
DAK Black1965-68
MD Milne1968-71
WS Peart1971-74
HE de Wardener1974-77
J Robson1977-80
DNS Kerr1980-83
MG McGeown1983-86
AW Asscher1986-89
NP Mallick1989-92
JS Cameron1992-95
J Walls1995-98
DG Williams1998-01
AJ Rees2001-04
J Feehally2004-07
P Mathieson2007-10
C Tomson2010-12
D Wheeler2012-14
B Hendry2014-2016
D O'Donoghue 2016-2018
G Lipkin (current)2018-2021


File Type Size Date  
Evolution of Dialysis in the United Kingdom 1956 to 2006 pdf 6.02 KB 10/09/2015 play_for_workDownload
Updated History 2000-2010 pdf 694.11 KB 04/09/2015 play_for_workDownload
Highlights of 60 years of renal science pdf 124.29 KB 25/08/2015 play_for_workDownload
Renal Association History Part B pdf 1.32 MB 24/08/2013 play_for_workDownload
Renal Association History Part A pdf 2.22 MB 24/08/2013 play_for_workDownload
UK Renal Registry: The First 25 Years pdf 1.05 MB 03/03/2020 play_for_workDownload