Platinum Jubilee Celebration of Dietetics and Nutrition Teaching at London Met

Wednesday 11 January marked 70 years of dietician training at the university.

Date: 13 March 2023

Academic staff, students and distinguished visitors were treated to an entertaining history lesson earlier this year, when Emeritus Professor David McCarthy delivered a lecture celebrating the 70 year anniversary of the formal training of dieticians at London Met.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Hall, introduced David who presented his research into the London Met archives and revealed a wealth of unearthed material. Since its inception in 1953, the program has made London Met one of the leading institutions for dietetics and nutrition studies in the UK and around the world.

However, David’s research suggests that dietetics was actually first taught as far back as 1898 at the Northern Polytechnic Institute, with the inclusion of nutrition and dietetics in the Domestic Economy course, over 50 years prior to the commencement of the dietetics programme.

David’s lecture also highlighted the key roles played by pioneering women in the university. For example, Mrs Adcock, head of the Women’s’ Department between 1908 and 1925 was selected to supervise the first National Kitchen (opened by HM Queen Mary in 1917) to provide nutritious and affordable meals on a mass scale during the first world war.

The audience also learned that many of the course teachers had been prolific writers of cookery books and texts on household science over the years.

Head of Health Sciences and dietician Sarah Illingworth praised the lecture: “It is so important that as an institution and subject area we recognised this important milestone in dietetics education. The lecture wasn't just about dietetics at London Met, it covered the evolution of the profession, the role of women in the workplace, nutrition in public health and much more.”

“We have estimated that over the years around 1400 dieticians have been trained here. We at London Met look forward to continuing to be a significant contributor to the education of the dietetic workforce.”

Dietetics and Nutrition class from the London Metropolitan University Special Collections Archive

Photo: London Met Special Collections - University Archive