History of the British College of Osteopathic Medicine

Established in 1936, BCOM became one of the first osteopathic education institutions to be accredited and to meet the standards set by the UK osteopathic profession’s governing body, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Over the years, it has established itself as a leader in osteopathic teaching and research.

BCOM was founded by esteemed Naturapath Stanley Lief as the British College of Naturopathy. Born in Latvia, Lief studied at the Bernarr Macfadden School in America. After graduating, he relocated to England , going into private practice in Bristol and then opening his own Nature Cure home in Buckinghamshire and founding “Health for All” magazine. He also opened the famous Champneys Spa in Tring, Hertfordshire, and there had many years of successful practice.

Stanley Lief was a pioneer and held in high esteem by his colleagues and students. He was Dean of the College until 1963, and President of the British Naturopathic and Osteopathic Association three times between 1945 and 1956.

In 1961, a decision was taken to incorporate the word Osteopathy into the title – making it the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy (BCNO).  In 1996, the college was renamed British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM).

The College has been at its present site in Netherhall Gardens since 1953. The original building is named after Hector Frazer, who purchased and gave the property to the British Naturopathic & Osteopathic Association as a token of gratitude for the benefit he and his wife received from treatment given to them by Stanley Lief, founder of the College.

The house was large enough to provide lecture rooms and accommodation for a Clinic with treatment rooms for out-patients. At this time the College had 28 students. The official opening of the building as the British College of Naturopathy took place on October 2 1954. It had been decided unanimously that the house would be called ‘Frazer House’ in honour of the generous benefactor who performed the opening ceremony. 

Since the College’s official opening, there have been major building developments including three extensions to Frazer House in 1980, 1989 and 2004, and the purchase of Lief House in 1996.