Our History

Key dates in the history of the British Association and Royal College of Occupational Therapists

BAOT/RCOT historic timeline

  • 1932 The Scottish Association of Occupational Therapists (SAOT) is founded.
  • 1936 The Association of Occupational Therapists (AOT) is founded for England, Wales, Northern Ireland.
  • 1938 AOT offers the first diploma examinations for occupational therapy in England the AOT journal "Occupational Therapy" is launched.
  • 1945 AOT sets up its first office in Brompton Road, London.
  • 1948 The NHS is established and AOT and SAOT appoint representatives to the Whitley Council to negotiate national pay and conditions for NHS occupational therapists.
  • 1954 SAOT establishes its first office in George Street, Edinburgh.
  • 1969 A referendum shows the membership of AOT and SAOT in favour of a merger.
  • 1974 The British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT) is formed from a merger of AOT and SAOT. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is launched.
  • 1978 BAOT becomes a registered trade union in line with members' wishes and sets up the College of Occupational Therapists (COT), a registered charity, to deal with the professional, educational and research business of the organisation.
  • 1986 HRH The Princess Royal becomes Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists.
  • 1993 BAOT members vote to contract with UNISON for trade union services.
  • 1998 BAOT/COT moves into its current headquarters building in Borough High Street, London.
  • 1999 Devolution leads to the establishment of Country Boards for the four countries and Policy Officer roles for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • 2007 The United Kingdom Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (UKOTRF) launched
  • 2011 The “official” opening of the refurbished College of Occupational Therapists’ headquarters in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists
  • 2016 COT celebrates: 40th Annual Conference and Exhibition, 30 years of HRH The Princess Royal as COT Patron, 10 years of Julia Scott as CEO.
  • 2017 HM The Queen grants COT a Royal charter to become the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.