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History of the IoPPN

History of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

The origins of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience date back to 1896 when the eminent neurologist Sir Frederick Mott put forward a proposal for the then novel concept of university training courses in subjects related to psychiatry.

In 1914, Mott’s idea began to take shape when London County Council agreed to establish a hospital in Denmark Hill where research and education would be embedded with care. Made possible by a generous donation from Dr Henry Maudsley, the Maudsley Hospital opened in 1923.

Within ten years, the associated Maudsley Hospital Medical School was officially recognised by the University of London. The School awarded one of the first Diplomas in Psychological Medicine in the English-speaking world, thereby formalising psychiatry as a specialist discipline of Medicine in the Commonwealth.

The School retained its name until 1948 when it became a founding member of the British Postgraduate Medical Federation and changed its name to the Institute of Psychiatry. In 1997, the Institute became a school of King’s College London.

In 2014, the remit of the Institute was broadened to include all brain and behavioural sciences, and was renamed the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience.  

100 years of research excellence

The Institute’s founding researcher, Sir Frederick Mott, helped identify syphilis as the cause of General Paresis of the Insane – laying the foundation for the first scientific treatment of a mental illness.

During the First World War, the Institute pioneered the understanding and treatment of ‘shell shock.’ Since its foundation, the Institute has been responsible for the objective measurement of intelligence (Raven’s Progressive Matrices); identifying the neuropathological basis of epilepsy (Alfred Meyer); developing the modern concept of ‘personality’ (Hans Eysenck); applying the new field of epidemiology to psychiatry (Aubrey Lewis); and hosting the first MRC Centre for Psychiatric Genetics (Eliot Slater).

Its researchers explained how alcohol dependence was a medical illness (Griffith Edwards), and the role of nicotine in maintaining cigarette smoking (Michael Russell).

In recent years our clinical-academics led the development of Child Psychiatry (Sir Michael Rutter) and Neuropsychiatry (Alwyn Lishman) as new sub-specialities of psychiatry.

Scientific innovation continues to this day. World-leading research from the Institute has made, and continues to make, a significant impact on how we understand, prevent and treat mental illness and other conditions that affect the brain.

In 2013, as a reflection of the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research at the Institute, King's was awarded the first Regius Professorship of Psychiatry by Her Majesty the Queen

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