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Reflections on 40 years of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research (BSCR)
  1. Sean M Davidson1,
  2. David Hearse2
  1. 1The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2The Rayne Institute, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sean M Davidson, The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, University College London, 67 Chenies Mews, London WC1E 6HX, UK; S.Davidson{at}

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This editorial celebrates 40 years of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research (BSCR). The Society originated, as many things do, in a small informal gathering. David Hearse (working in London with Professor Sir Ernst Chain in the Department of Biochemistry at the Imperial College of Science and Technology) and Keith Gibson (working with Peter Harris at the Cardiothoracic Institute in Beaumont Street) were lamenting the lack of a forum in which to discuss current issues in basic cardiovascular research. To improve the situation, they assembled a committee with John Muir, Winifred Nayler, Mark Noble, Desmond Fitzgerald and Peter Harris, who was elected as the first Chair of the nascent Society (table 1), named at that time the Cardiac Muscle Research Group (CMRG). Encouragingly, attendance at their inaugural meeting on 12 December 1973 far exceeded expectations of ‘perhaps as many as nineteen’. Indeed, over 60 delegates enjoyed two sessions; one dealing with ‘Cardiac Action of Drugs—Adrenoceptor Agonists and Antagonists’, and the second with ‘Critical Evaluation of Biochemical Techniques as Applied to the Heart’, followed by sherry. There was a limit of two slides per discussant, a prospect that most presenters today would find quite horrifying.

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Table 1

Past Cardiac Muscle Research Group and British Society for Cardiovascular Research chairpersons (1973–2013)

For a modest annual subscription of £2, members could attend two meetings every year in autumn (usually in London) and spring (usually elsewhere in the UK). The second meeting (2 April 1974) on ‘The differences between skeletal and cardiac muscle’ took place in Birmingham, and the third (18 November 1974), which was held at Imperial College in London, addressed the evolving topic of ‘Acute myocardial ischaemia’, a theme which was to become a regular feature in future meetings. Evidently the Society filled a need, as its …

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  • Contributors SD wrote the article. DH contributed to the contents and approved publication.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. SD is supported by grants from the BHF PG/10/005 and MRC MR/K002066/1.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.