Fitzpatrick Lecture

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Fitzpatrick Lecture
Thomas Fitzpatrick Wellcome M0018322.jpg
Founder(s) Thomas Fitzpatrick (London physician)
Faculty Royal 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]

Royal College of Physicians professional body of doctors of general medicine and its subspecialties in the UK

The Royal College of Physicians is a British professional body dedicated to improving the practice of medicine, chiefly through the accreditation of physicians by examination. Founded in 1518, it set the first international standard in the classification of diseases, and its library contains medical texts of great historical interest.

History of medicine aspect of history

The history of medicine shows how societies have changed in their approach to illness and disease from ancient times to the present. Early medical traditions include those of Babylon, China, Egypt and India. The Indians introduced the concepts of medical diagnosis, prognosis, and advanced medical ethics. The Hippocratic Oath was written in ancient Greece in the 5th century BCE, and is a direct inspiration for oaths of office that physicians swear upon entry into the profession today. In the Middle Ages, surgical practices inherited from the ancient masters were improved and then systematized in Rogerius's The Practice of Surgery. Universities began systematic training of physicians around 1220 CE in Italy.

Thomas Fitzpatrick (London physician) London physician and member of the Royal College of Physicians

Thomas Fitzpatrick, born in Virginia, County Cavan, Ireland, became a prominent London physician and member of the Royal College of Physicians. He was the son of James and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick and born in the Headfort Arms Hotel, Virginia where his parents were the proprietors. From a privileged upbringing Thomas was educated at St. Patrick's, Carlow College, a school well noted for turning out many fine Catholic theologians. However his university education at Trinity College, Dublin enabled him to distinguish himself in medicine where he qualified with a BA in 1853, MA in 1854, MB and MD by 1856. During this time Thomas Fitzpatrick also practiced as a doctor in the Co. Cavan village of Mullagh before entering service during 1856 with the British East India Company as an assistant surgeon, an experience which was to leave a lasting impression on him, through his future attitudes towards primitive medicine, magic and religion.


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]

Royal Society of Medicine

The Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) is one of the major providers of accredited postgraduate medical education in the United Kingdom. Each year, the RSM organises over 400 academic and public events. spanning 56 areas of special interest providing a multi-disciplinary forum for discussion and debate. Videos of many key lectures are also available online, increasing access to the Society’s education programme. The RSM is home to one of the largest medical libraries in Europe, with an extensive collection of books, journals, electronic journals and online medical databases. As well as providing medical education, the Society aims to promote an exchange of information and ideas on the science, practice and organisation of medicine, both within the health professions and with responsible and informed public opinion. The Society is not a policy-making body and does not issue guidelines or standards of care.

History of Medicine Society society that encourages learning of history of medicine

Founded by Sir William Osler in 1912, the History of Medicine Society, at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), London, is one of the oldest History of Medicine societies in the world and is one of the four founder committees of the British Society for the History of Medicine.



YearsNameLecture titleComments
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]
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]
1911-1912 Raymond Crawfurd 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]
1915-1916 William Halse Rivers Medicine, Magic and Religion. [18]
1917-1918 Arnold Chaplin Medicine in England during the reign of George III . [19]
1919-1920 Edward Granville Browne Arabian medicine. [20]


YearsNameLecture titleComments
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]


YearsNameLecture titleComments
1948-1949W.H WynnThe Pestilences of War. [1]
1950-1952W. BrockbankThe History of Some Therapeutic Procedures. [1]
1952-1953M. DavidsonMedicine 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]
1956-1957C F T EastSome Aspects of the History of Cardiology. [1]
1958-1959 W. S. C. Copeman Medical Practice in the Tudor Period. [1]
1960-1961K D KeeleEvolution of Clinical Methods in Medicine. [1] Published in a book reviewed by Lloyd G. Stevenson. [28]


YearsNameLecture titleComments
1960-1961K. D. KeeleEvolution of Clinical Methods in Medicine [1]
1962-1963A H T Robb-SmithThe Oxford Medical School and its Graduates. [1]
1964-1965R R TrailThe 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]
1967P E Thompson Hancock. [1]
1968 C. E. Newman The History of the College Library. [1]
1969-1970Major 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]
1973Major General R. J. G. MorrisonDr Messenger Monsey, 1693-1788. [1]
1975W. C. GibsonA Canadian Trio of Internalists – Banting, Bethune and Chisholm . [1]
1976Gweneth WhitteridgeSome Italian Precursors of the London College of Physicians. [1]
1977E. S. ClarkeThe Neutral Circulation:the role of analogy in medicine. [1]
1979C. C. BootheClinical 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]


YearsNameLecture titleComments
1981P A J BallPlants, their Predators and the Physician. [1]
1982A HollmanThomas Lewis - Physiologist, Cardiologist and Clinical Scientist. [1]
1983R. 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]
1988A. GoldbergTowards European medicine: an historical perspective. [32]
1989P. Richards Leprosy: myth, melodrama and mediaevalism. [33]
1993A S Mason Hans Sloane and his friends. [34]
1994J H BaronArt in hospitals. [35] Given whilst Baron was a RCP councillor. [36]
1995D A PykeThe great insanity: Hitler and the destruction of German science. [37]
1996Tattersall R Frederick Pavy (1829-1911)-the last of the physician chemists. [38]

2001 onwards

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

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  11. Guthrie, Leonard George (1921). Contributions to the Study of Precocity in Children: The Fitzpatrick Lectures on the History of Medicine Delivered at the Royal College of Physicians in the Years 1907, 1908. Millar.
  12. Shuttleworth, Sally (2010). The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science, and Medicine 1840-1900. Oxford University Press. p. 400. ISBN   978-0-19-968217-1.
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  15. Rolleston, J.D. (2004). Crawfurd, Sir Raymond Henry Payne- Oxford dictionary of national biography : in association with the British Academy : from the earliest times to the year 2000. Matthew, H. C. G. (Henry Colin Gray), Harrison, Brian, 1937-, British Academy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 92–93. ISBN   978-0198614111. OCLC   54778415.
  16. Mercier, Charles Arthur (1914). Astrology in medicine : the Fitzpatrick lectures delivered before the Royal College of Physicians on November 6 and 11, 1913 : with addendum on saints and signs. University of California Libraries. London : Macmillan and Co.
  17. Mercier, Charles Arthur (1915). Leper houses and mediaeval hospitals: being the FitzPatrick lectures, delivered before the Royal College of Physicians, London, 5th and 10th November, 1914. FitzPatrick lectures ;1914. London: H.K. Lewis.
  18. PERRY, W. J. (October 1924). "Medicine, Magic and Religion: the FitzPatrick Lectures delivered before the Royal College of Physicians of London 1915 and 1916". Nature. 114 (2868): 563–564. doi:10.1038/114563a0. ISSN   0028-0836.
  19. Chaplin, Arnold (1919). Medicine in England during the reign of George III. The Fitzpatrick lectures delivered at the Royal College of Physicians 1917-1918;. University of California Libraries. London : Published by the Author.
  20. Browne, Edward Granville; Fitz-Patrick lectures, (1919 (1921). Arabian medicine : being the Fitzpatrick lectures delivered at the College of Physicians in November 1919 and November 1920. Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Yale University. Cambridge : The University Press.
  21. "R. O. Moon, D.M., F.R.C.P." British Medical Journal . 2 (4831): 343–344. 8 August 1953. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.4831.342-b.
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  23. Spencer, H. R. (1927-11-12). "The FitzPatrick Lectures on the History of British Midwifery (1650-1800)". British Medical Journal. 2 (3488): 853–856. ISSN   0007-1447. PMC   2525138 . PMID   20773500.
  24. "Munks Roll Details for John Davy Rolleston". Retrieved 10 July 2018.
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  26. "A History of Tropical Medicine Based on the Fitzpatrick Lectures Delivered Before the Royal College of Physicians of London 1937-38". Journal of the American Medical Association. 114 (16): 1585. 1940-04-20. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810160087038. ISSN   0002-9955.
  27. Robson, Robert (1959). The Attorney in Eighteenth-Century England. Cambridge University Press. p. 169. ISBN   978-1-107-65499-0.
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  30. Wolstenholme, G. (January 1985). "Governments may damage your health. The FitzPatrick Lecture 1984". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 19 (1): 17–22. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   3882955.
  31. Sakula, A. (January 1988). "A history of asthma. The FitzPatrick lecture 1987". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 22 (1): 36–44. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   3276885.
  32. Goldberg, A. (October 1989). "Towards European medicine: an historical perspective. The FitzPatrick lecture 1988". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 23 (4): 277–286. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   2685270.
  33. Richards, P. (January 1990). "Leprosy: myth, melodrama and mediaevalism. The FitzPatrick lecture 1989". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 24 (1): 55–62. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   2407839.
  34. Mason, A. S. (October 1993). "Hans Sloane and his friends. The FitzPatrick Lecture 1993". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 27 (4): 450–455. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   8289170.
  35. Baron, J. H. (March 1995). "Art in hospitals. The Fitzpatrick Lecture 1994". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 29 (2): 131–144. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   7595886.
  36. Bennett, John R. (2014-12-31). "Hugh Baron obituary". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  37. Pyke, D. A. (May 1995). "The great insanity: Hitler and the destruction of German science. The FitzPatrick Lecture 1995". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 29 (3): 199–206. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   7658416.
  38. Tattersall, R. (May 1996). "Frederick Pavy (1829-1911)--the last of the physician chemists. The FitzPatrick Lecture 1996". Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London. 30 (3): 238–245. ISSN   0035-8819. PMID   8811599.
  39. Peters, Timothy (April 2015). "FitzPatrick Lecture: King George III and the porphyria myth - causes, consequences and re-evaluation of his mental illness with computer diagnostics". Clinical Medicine (London, England). 15 (2): 168–172. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.15-2-168. ISSN   1470-2118. PMID   25824070.
  40. "FitzPatrick lecture - Churchill's medical men, Dr David Eedy". RCP London. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  41. "FitzPatrick lecture - Edward Jenner and John Hunter: the apprentice and his sorcerer". RCP London. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2018-06-23.