Anglo-European College of Chiropractic: Chiropractic History in Bournemouth

AECC at Original Cavendish Road

In September 1965 Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) opened its doors to students for the first time. In fact the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic was not the first teaching establishment that had purported to teach chiropractic in the United Kingdom.

As early as the 1920s schools existed that included ‘chiropractic’ within their curricula. Amongst them was the British College of Chiropractic, established in London in 1925.

What was different about Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) was that it was the first chiropractic school in Britain, indeed within Europe, to be recognised and supported by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and by the international chiropractic community. Fundamental to the establishment of the college was the work of two British chiropractors, Robert Beech and Donald Bennett.

History of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth

Records suggest that fourteen students enrolled in the first class at Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in the autumn of 1965, but only one of these went onto graduate in 1969. He was joined by an additional student who started his education in America. Many of the first students to attend the college became disheartened as a result of teething problems at the school. In January 1967 the dismissal of a lecturer resulted in a vote of no confidence in the College Council by the Student Union and a student revolt ensued. Despite early difficulties, not the least of which was the financial burden of the project that has been taken on, the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) overcame barriers to its development. In 1966 the school had purchased a second building in Cavendish Road in order to run a teaching clinic, but by the mid-1970s the two buildings owned by the school were becoming insufficient to effectively meet the requirements of the growing number of students. New premises were needed.

At the beginning of the 1980s chiropractors rallied in support of an attempt to buy the premises of Boscombe Convent following a merger of local Catholic schools. The Dean of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) at the time was Arne Christensen. He played a central role in planning the potential move, as did George Walker, a Plymouth-based chiropractor. Following a successful bid, Boscombe Convent was purchased and Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) moved to its present location.

Opening of Anglo-European College of Chiropractic 1982
Current Site of the AECC in Parkwood Road in 1982

The official opening of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in Boscombe, Bournemouth took place on 21st May 1982.

The period since 1982 has seen Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) rise to become one of the most successful chiropractic colleges in the world. In 1991 it received Royal Patronage from Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. Today it provides a gold standard in chiropractic education and research, and boasts a teaching clinic with a throughput of approximately 50,000 outpatient visits a year. The premises in Parkwood Road have proved invaluable to its development.

Graduates of Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) in the years between 1969 and 1990 received a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) qualification, based on the typical North American chiropractic qualification. In 1988 the Council for National Academic Awards validated the undergraduate programme at Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) and the college became the first school in the field of complementary / alternative medicine in the United Kingdom to offer a validated degree. Since that time standards of education at Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) have continued to rise. Today chiropractic graduates leave with a Masters degree validated by Bournemouth University and the college provides a number of programmes leading to higher degrees.

The Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) library holds copies of undergraduate research projects dating back to 1970 and successful completion of an undergraduate research project remains a requirement of graduation as a chiropractor from Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC). A Research Department was established in 1986, charging was establishing a research base for the college in order to support its educational objectives. From this department two groups emerged in 1999. The Department of Research and Professional Development supports postgraduate educational activities at the college. It directs, facilitates and monitors research activity undertaken by faculty and postgraduate students. The Institute for Musculoskeletal Research and Clinical Implementation (IMRCI) collaborates in multidisciplinary research in order to address national concerns relating to the impact of musculoskeletal problems.

When the college first moved to Parkwood Road the Teaching Clinic was within the sixth form block of Boscombe Convent School, which was originally built as a Noviciate. It contained thirty consultation / treatment rooms, a rehabilitation centre, and a radiography department with two x-rays units. In 2009 the College opened a new purpose built 1500m² teaching clinic boasting 34 treatment rooms, a high-tech functional exercise and rehabilitation centre, diagnostic ultrasound, x-ray and fluoroscopy. The clinic has a reputation for excellent in its provision of chiropractic care to the local community.

In 2008 the College embarked on a new project, The Centre for Ultrasound Studies (CUS). Offering post-graduate programmes in diagnostic ultrasound for all healthcare professionals including midwifes and doctors. Work is currently in progress to refurbish the former clinic to include CUS which will offer clinical services. There will also be additional computer labs and study space for students.

* This information is directly from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic website on 15 October 2009