Fitzpatrick Lecture

Fitzpatrick Lecture
Thomas Fitzpatrick Wellcome M0018322.jpg
Founder(s)Thomas Fitzpatrick (London physician)
FacultyRoyal College of Physicians

The Fitzpatrick Lecture is given annually at the Royal College of Physicians on a subject related to history of medicine.[1] The lecturer, who must be a fellow of the College, is selected by the president and may be chosen to speak for two years successively. The lectures are supported by funds from the Fitzpatrick Trust which was established in 1901 by Agnes Letitia Fitzpatrick[2] with a £2,000 donation in memory of her physician husband Thomas Fitzpatrick.[3][4][5] Agnes was influenced by her husband’s close friend, Sir Norman Moore, who persuaded her to choose ‘’history of medicine’’ as a subject. Subsequently, Moore was credited with its idea and implementation.[6]

The first two Fitzpatrick lectures were given by Joseph Frank Payne,[6] whose request instigated history of medicine lectures at the Royal Society of Medicine and with whose support Sir William Osler established the History of Medicine Section.[7] He was succeeded by Sir Norman Moore, Leonard Guthrie and Clifford Allbutt and Raymond Crawfurd.[8]



Years Name Lecture title Comments Image
1903-1904 Joseph Frank Payne The Medicine of Anglo-Saxon Times.[9] Paid tribute to Thomas Fitzpatrick prior to first lecture, stating that Norman Moore, an intimate friend of Fitzpatrick, should have given the first lecture.[6]
1905-1906 Sir Norman Moore The history of the study of medicine in the British Isles.[10] Moore spoke on Medical Study in London during the Middle Ages and Education of physicians in London in the 17th century.[10] Sir Norman Moore
1907-1908 Leonard Guthrie
  • Contributions to the Study of Precocity in Children.[11]
  • The History of Neurology.
After Guthrie's death, his work was privately printed in 1921, by his nephew, Eric G. Millar.[12]
1909-1910 Clifford Allbutt Greek Medicine in Rome.[13][14] Allbutt dedicated the published lectures to Sir Norman Moore, president of the RCP.[14] Thomas Clifford Allbutt
1911-1912 Raymond Crawfurd *The King's Evil.[8] Crawfurd further expanded these topics to produce books on the subjects.[15]
1913-1914 Charles Arthur Mercier *Astrology in Medicine.[16] *Leper houses and mediaeval hospitals.[17] Charles Arthur Mercier
1915-1916 William Halse Rivers Medicine, Magic and Religion.[18] W.H.R.Rivers (Maull)
1917-1918 Arnold Chaplin Medicine in England during the reign of George III.[19]
1919-1920 Edward Granville Browne Arabian medicine.[20] Edward-Granville-Browne


Years Name Lecture title Comments Image
1921 Robert Oswald Moon Lectured on Hippocrates and his successors and interested in classics. He also wrote book on The Relation of Medicine to Philosophy.[21]
1923-1924 Charles Singer * History of Medicine
  • The Evolution of Anatomy: a Short History of Anatomical and Physiological Discovery to Harvey[22] || ||
1927 Herbert R. Spencer The FitzPatrick Lectures on the History of British Midwifery (1650-1800).[23]
1935-1936 John Davy Rolleston He demonstrated how current medical problems could be understood through studying the past,[24] in The history of the acute exanthemata.[25]
1937-1938 Henry Harold Scott A History of Tropical Medicine.[26]


Years Name Lecture title Comments
1948-1949 W.H Wynn The Pestilences of War.[1]
1950-1952 W. Brockbank The History of Some Therapeutic Procedures.[1]
1952-1953 M. Davidson Medicine in Oxford, a Historical Romance.[1]
1954-1955 C. E. Newman The Evolution of Medical Education in the Nineteenth Century.[1] Newman described the development of professional solidarity and societies of physicians and apothecaries, demonstrating similarities between apothecaries and attorneys.[27]
1956-1957 C F T East Some Aspects of the History of Cardiology.[1]
1958-1959 W. S. C. Copeman Medical Practice in the Tudor Period.[1] Portrait of William Copeman Wellcome L0015922
1960-1961 K D Keele Evolution of Clinical Methods in Medicine.[1] Published in a book reviewed by Lloyd G. Stevenson.[28]


Years Name Lecture title Comments
1960-1961 K. D. Keele Evolution of Clinical Methods in Medicine[1]
1962-1963 A H T Robb-Smith The Oxford Medical School and its Graduates.[1]
1964-1965 R R Trail The History of Popular Medicine in England: up to the 17th century.[1]
1966 Geoffrey Keynes John Woodall, Surgeon, 1556-1643. His place in medical history.[1]
1967 P E Thompson Hancock.[1]
1968 C. E. Newman The History of the College Library.[1]
1969-1970 Major General A. N. T. Mences
  • The Influence of War on Medicine
  • The Influence of Medicine on War.[1]
1971-1972 Edgar Ashworth Underwood
  • The Evolution of Haematology: The History of the Formed Elements of the Blood.
  • The Evolution of Haematology: The History of some Diseases of the Blood.[1]
1973 Major General R. J. G. Morrison Dr Messenger Monsey, 1693-1788.[1]
1975 W. C. Gibson A Canadian Trio of Internalists – Banting, Bethune and Chisholm.[1]
1976 Gweneth Whitteridge Some Italian Precursors of the London College of Physicians.[1]
1977 E. S. Clarke The Neutral Circulation:the role of analogy in medicine.[1]
1979 C. C. Boothe Clinical Science in the age of Reason.[1]
1980 A. J. Robertson Dinner with Laennec.[1] A. J. Robertson was the second medical editor of journal Thorax. His Fitzpatrick lecture was based on Läennec, and the physicians who contributed to the confusion about rales and rhonchi.[29]


Years Name Lecture title Comments
1981 P A J Ball Plants, their Predators and the Physician.[1]
1982 A Hollman Thomas Lewis - Physiologist, Cardiologist and Clinical Scientist.[1]
1983 R. M. Kark Richard Bright MD FRS DCL (1789-1859).
1984 Gordon Wolstenholme Governments may damage your health.[30]
1987 Alex Sakula A history of asthma.[31]
1988 A. Goldberg Towards European medicine: an historical perspective.[32]
1989 P. Richards Leprosy: myth, melodrama and mediaevalism.[33]
1993 A S Mason Hans Sloane and his friends.[34]
1994 J H Baron Art in hospitals.[35] Given whilst Baron was a RCP councillor.[36]
1995 D A Pyke The great insanity: Hitler and the destruction of German science.[37]
1996 Tattersall R Frederick Pavy (1829-1911)-the last of the physician chemists.[38]

2001 onwards

Years Name Lecture title Comments
2015 T Peters King George III and the porphyria myth - causes, consequences and re-evaluation of his mental illness with computer diagnostics.[39]
2016 David Eedy Churchill's medical men.[40]
2017 Professor Gareth Williams Edward Jenner and John Hunter: the apprentice and his sorcerer.[41]
2018 Nick Levell Daniel Turner Vs Thomas Dover - a story of rivals, slaves and pirates, dermatology and physicians[3]
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