Famous 19th Century British Physicians

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Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century British Physicians

 1 
John Snow
(Physician)

John Snow
4
Birthdate: March 15, 1813
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: York, United Kingdom
Died: June 16, 1858

Best known as the father of modern epidemiology, British doctor John Snow revolutionized medical science with his study of London’s Broad Street cholera outbreak of 1854. His research contributed to the development of London’s sewage and water systems and led to the reduction in cholera cases.

 2 
Joseph Lister
(Surgeon)

Joseph Lister
4
Birthdate: April 5, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Upton House, West Ham, England
Died: February 10, 1912

British surgeon Joseph Lister was a pioneer of antiseptic medicine usage and made a huge contribution to the development of preventive medicine for bacterial infection. His achievements have been honored by many, such as the makers of Listerine antiseptic and mouthwash, who named their product after him.

 3 
David Livingstone
(Physician, Explorer)

David Livingstone
5
Birthdate: March 19, 1813
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: May 1, 1873

David Livingstone was a Scottish physician who played a major role at the London Missionary Society, where he was a pioneer Christian missionary. He is also remembered for his work as a missionary in Africa. Widely considered one of the most famous British heroes of the late Victorian era, Livingstone was mentioned in the 100 Greatest Britons list in 2002.

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 4 
Henry Gray
(Anatomist and surgeon)

Henry Gray
3
Birthdate: 1827 AD
Birthplace: Belgravia
Died: June 13, 1861

Best known for his iconic medical textbook Gray's Anatomy, surgeon Henry Gray, who was a skilled anatomist, was made a Fellow of The Royal Society at the tender age of 25. His untimely death at 34 due to small pox, while treating his nephew, cheated him of an illustrious career.

 5 
Ronald Ross
(Medical doctor)

Ronald Ross
3
Birthdate: May 13, 1857
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Almora, India
Died: September 16, 1932

Nobel Prize-winning British doctor Ronald Ross is best remembered for his pathbreaking work on malaria, which proved that the disease was caused by the Anopheles variant of mosquitoes. After his extensive research in India, he went back to London, where he was knighted. He also wrote poetry and songs.

 6 
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
(Mayor of Aldeburgh)

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1836
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Whitechapel
Died: December 17, 1917

The first female doctor and surgeon of Britain, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was initially denied admission to medical schools because of her gender and had thus started studying privately. Soon after joining the Marylebone Dispensary as an attendant, she contributed to the formation of the New Hospital for Women.

 7 
Havelock Ellis
(Physician)

Havelock Ellis
3
Birthdate: February 2, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Croydon
Died: July 8, 1939

Havelock Ellis co-wrote the first English textbook on homosexuality. Initially a teacher in Australia, he later moved to London to study medicine. His seven-part Studies in the Psychology of Sex is a first-of-its-kind study on human sexuality. He also believed in eugenics and the importance of smell in sexual behavior.

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 8 
Hudson Taylor
(Missionary)

Hudson Taylor
3
Birthdate: May 21, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barnsley, Yorkshire, England
Died: June 3, 1905

Hudson Taylor was one of the most popular Christian missionaries in China. His 51-year stint in China witnessed him baptizing over 50,000 people. Apart from converting people, he also mingled with the Chinese at a personal level, adopting their clothing habits, contrary to what other missionaries practiced.

 9 

Thomas Neill Cream
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: November 15, 1892

Thomas Neill Cream, or the Lambeth Poisoner, was a Scottish-Canadian doctor who offered illegal abortions to sex workers in Chicago. He was later executing for poisoning scores of women and blackmailing others for their murders. It is believed he had claimed to be Jack the Ripper just before his execution.

 10 
Ludwig Guttmann
(Neurologist)

Ludwig Guttmann
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toszek
Died: March 18, 1980

Born in Germany, neurosurgeon Ludwig Guttmann fled the country during the Nazi regime and later settled in the UK. What started as his effort to rehabilitate injured soldiers, materialized into the launch of the Paralympic Games to encourage sports among the disabled. He also worked extensively on paraplegia.

 11 
John Langdon Down
(Physician, Psychiatrist, Neurologist)

John Langdon Down
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Torpoint
Died: October 7, 1896

British doctor John Langdon Down was pushed to assist at his father’s shop at 14. He gained an interest in medicine after apprenticing with a London surgeon. A pioneer in the treatment of mentally challenged patients, he is remembered for his study of what is now known as Down syndrome.

 12 
William Worrall Mayo
(Chemist, Politician, Gynaecologist, Editor)

William Worrall Mayo
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Salford
Died: March 6, 1911

Part of the renowned Mayo family of doctors of the U.S., William Worrall Mayo played a key role in establishing the Mayo Clinic. He and his two sons built the St. Mary’s Hospital, along with the Sisters of St. Francis, after the deadly tornado of 1883 destroyed Rochester.

 13 
Axel Munthe
(Medical Doctor)

Axel Munthe
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1857
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Oskarshamn, Sweden
Died: February 11, 1949

 14 
William Palmer
(physician, serial killer)

William Palmer
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1824
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rugeley
Died: June 14, 1856

Physician William Palmer, also known as Palmer the Poisoner, was hanged in public for the murder of his friend John Cook. He had apparently poisoned Cook with strychnine and had also killed several others, eventually gaining from their insurance. He has been loosely referred to in many literary works.

 15 
Charles Bell
(Surgeon)

Charles Bell
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1774
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 28, 1842

Charles Bell was a Scottish surgeon, physiologist, anatomist, and neurologist. He was also an artist and philosophical theologian. He discovered the difference between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord. He is also known for describing Bell's palsy. He played a key role in the creation of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. 

 16 
Edward Adrian Wilson
(Explorer, Ornithologist, Painter, Scientist)

Edward Adrian Wilson
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cheltenham
Died: March 29, 1912

 17 
William Farr
(Medical doctor)

William Farr
2
Birthdate: November 30, 1807
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kenley, England
Died: April 14, 1883

 18 
Thomas Hodgkin
(Former Physician best known for the first account of Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphoma and blood disease, in 1832)

Thomas Hodgkin
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1798
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pentonville, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
Died: April 5, 1866

 19 
William Gull
(Physician)

William Gull
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1816
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Colchester, England
Died: January 29, 1890

 20 
W. H. R. Rivers
(Anthropologist)

W. H. R. Rivers
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1864
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chatham, Kent, England
Died: June 4, 1922

English anthropologist and psychologist W. H. R. Rivers is best remembered for his work on the Todas of the Nilgiri Hills. A qualified physician, he also taught at Cambridge and worked extensively on medical psychology. One of his best-known works is Kinship and Social Organisation.

 21 
Dean Mahomed
(Traveller, surgeon, entrepreneur, and one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World)

Dean Mahomed
0
Birthdate: March 12, 1864, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Patna, Bihar, India
Died: February 24, 1851

 22 
John Bodkin Adams
(Physician, Serial killer)

John Bodkin Adams
3
Birthdate: January 21, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Randalstown
Died: July 4, 1983

Not many suspected physician John Bodkin Adams of being a serial killer till it was revealed that his name had appeared in the wills of at least 132 of his patients who had died, while 163 died in coma. Though never convicted of the killings, he faced punishment for forgery.

 23 
John Scott Haldane
(Former Physician, Physiologist known for Black Veil Respirator, Haldane effect in haemoglobin)

John Scott Haldane
2
Birthdate: May 2, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died: March 14, 1936

Copley Medal-winning Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane is best remembered for his research on the physiology of respiration. He also contributed significantly to mine safety regulations and developed a method to help deep-sea divers. It is believed, he would often lock himself in sealed rooms, inhaling gases, to observe their effects on him.

 24 
Gideon Mantell
(Obstetrician)

Gideon Mantell
2
Birthdate: February 3, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lewes, England
Died: November 10, 1852

 25 
William Thornton
(Physician)

William Thornton
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Died: March 28, 1828

British-American William Thornton was initially trained in medicine and that is when he began drawing and sketching as part of his medical notes. He later won a contest for the design of the Library Company of Philadelphia's new hall. He also designed the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

 26 

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake
2
Birthdate: January 21, 1840
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hastings, Sussex, England
Died: January 7, 1912

 27 

George Crabbe
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1754
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aldeburgh, England
Died: February 3, 1834

George Crabbe was an English surgeon, poet, and clergyman. He began his career as a doctor's apprentice in the 1770s and later become a surgeon. After a few years, he pursued a living as a poet and also served as a clergyman in various capacities. He wrote poetry mainly in the form of heroic couplets. He was also a coleopterist. 

 28 
Henry Faulds
(Scientist)

Henry Faulds
2
Birthdate: June 1, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Beith
Died: March 19, 1930

 29 
James Paget
(Founder of scientific medical pathology.)

James Paget
2
Birthdate: January 11, 1814
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Great Yarmouth, England
Died: December 30, 1899

 30 
Wilfred Grenfell
(Missionary)

Wilfred Grenfell
2
Birthdate: February 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parkgate, England
Died: October 9, 1940

English medical missionary to Newfoundland Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell KCMG, is noted for his years of service to the people of the colony. His relentless efforts in such pursuit led him to form the philanthropic organization Grenfell Mission and the International Grenfell Association to provide different services, including medical, social, educational, religious, and rehabilitation to the people there.

 31 
Graham Wallas
(Psychologist)

Graham Wallas
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, England
Died: August 9, 1932

Political scientist and Fabian Society leader Graham Wallas is best known for his iconic work Human Nature in Politics. He contributed to the development of the London School of Economics and was one of its first professors. He also proposed one of the first models of the creative process.

 32 

R. Austin Freeman
2
Birthdate: April 11, 1862
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
Died: September 28, 1943

 33 

Jonathan Hutchinson
4
Birthdate: July 23, 1828
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Selby, Yorkshire, England
Died: June 13, 1913

 34 
Victor Horsley
(British surgeon)

Victor Horsley
2
Birthdate: April 14, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 16, 1916

British neurosurgeon Victor Horsley created history when he conducted the first spinal tumor operation. His research also included studies on thyroid and rabies. He was also knighted for his achievements but died of a heat stroke while serving the British army’s medical team during World War I.

 35 

John Hughlings Jackson
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1835
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Green Hammerton, England
Died: October 7, 1911

John Hughlings Jackson was an English neurologist best known for his research on epilepsy. He attended the York Medical and Surgical School and became the house physician to the York Dispensary. He later established his reputation as a neurologist and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.  He was one of the founders of the important journal Brain. 

Christopher Addison, 1st Viscount Addison
2
Birthdate: June 19, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hogsthorpe, England
Died: December 11, 1951

 37 
Astley Cooper
(Surgeon)

Astley Cooper
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1768
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooke, England
Died: February 12, 1841

 38 
Richard Bright
(Physician)

Richard Bright
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1789
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: December 16, 1858

 39 
Edward Bancroft
(Physician)

Edward Bancroft
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Westfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 7, 1821

 40 
William Prout
(Chemist)

William Prout
2
Birthdate: January 15, 1785
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Horton, England
Died: April 9, 1850

 41 

Goldsworthy Gurney
1
Birthdate: February 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Treator, Padstow, England
Died: February 28, 1875

 42 
John Boyd Orr
(Teacher)

John Boyd Orr
1
Birthdate: September 23, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilmaurs, Scotland
Died: June 25, 1971

Apart from being a scientist and physician, John Boyd Orr also conducted ground-breaking research on nutrition. The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was known for his campaigns to end world hunger, had also served the British army and navy as a medical officer. He was later knighted, too.

 43 

Charles Gabriel Seligman
1
Birthdate: December 24, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 19, 1940
Charles Gabriel Seligman was a British physician and ethnologist whose main ethnographic work described the culture of the Vedda people of Sri Lanka and the Shilluk people of the Sudan. He was a proponent of the Hamitic hypothesis and promoted scientific racism through his work. Considered to be a highly influential teacher, Seligman was also a Professor at the London School of Economics.

Sir William Jenner, 1st Baronet
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1815
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chatham, England
Died: December 11, 1898

 45 
John Richardson
(Surgeon and Explorer)

John Richardson
1
Birthdate: November 5, 1787
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dumfries, Scotland
Died: June 5, 1865

Apart from being a naval surgeon, John Richardson also made a named for himself as an explorer of the Canadian Arctic coast. He was also a talented author of natural history. His accurate surveys eventually got him knighted. Various species of reptiles and mammals have been named in his honor.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1803
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Clifton, Bristol, England
Died: January 26, 1849

 47 

James Cowles Prichard
1
Birthdate: February 11, 1786
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ross, England
Died: December 23, 1848

 48 

Wilfred Trotter
1
Birthdate: November 3, 1872
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coleford, Gloucestershire, England
Died: November 25, 1939

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet
1
Birthdate: June 9, 1783
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: West Winterslow, England
Died: October 21, 1862

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet, was an English surgeon and physiologist best remembered for his pioneering research into joint and bone disease. He was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1810 where he published many papers describing investigations in physiology. From 1858 to 1861, Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie served as the 29th President of the Royal Society.

Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern
1
Birthdate: July 6, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bexley, England
Died: May 8, 1971