Thomas Cochrane (doctor)

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Thomas Cochrane M.B. C.M (1866–1953) was a Scottish medical missionary. He is notable for founding the first school to teach Western Medicine to Chinese trainee doctors and for his influential London-based campaigns to promote missionary work.

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, or in Latin: Medicinae Baccalaureus Baccalaureus Chirurgiae, are the two first professional degrees in medicine and surgery awarded upon graduation from medical school by universities in countries that follow the tradition of the United Kingdom (UK). The historical degree nomenclature suggests that they are two separate undergraduate degrees; however, in practice, they are usually treated as one and conferred together, and may also be awarded at graduate-level medical schools. In countries that follow the system in the United States, the equivalent medical degree is awarded as Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).

Scottish people ethnic inhabitants of Scotland

The Scottish people or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.

Medical missions in China by Protestant Christian physicians and surgeons of the 19th and early 20th centuries laid many foundations for modern medicine in China. Western medical missionaries established the first modern clinics and hospitals, provided the first training for nurses, and opened the first medical schools in China. Work was also done in opposition to the abuse of opium. Medical treatment and care came to many Chinese who were addicted, and eventually public and official opinion was influenced in favor of bringing an end to the destructive trade.


Early life

Cochrane was brought up in Greenock, Scotland. [1] In 1882 he was inspired to become a missionary after listening to the evangelical preacher Dwight L. Moody. [2] He trained to become a doctor at Glasgow University and in 1897 traveled to China with the London Missionary Society. [3]

Greenock town and administrative centre in the Inverclyde council area in Scotland

Greenock is a town and administrative centre in the Inverclyde council area in Scotland and a former burgh within the historic county of Renfrewshire, located in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. It forms part of a contiguous urban area with Gourock to the west and Port Glasgow to the east.

Scotland country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Dwight L. Moody American evangelist and publisher

Dwight Lyman Moody, also known as D. L. Moody, was an American evangelist and publisher connected with the Holiness Movement, who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts, Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.

Work in China

Cochrane arrived in Chaoyang hospital, Mongolia when the country was in the throes of the Boxer rebellion. [4] Braving threats from bandits, he traveled from village to village in an ox cart dispensing medical aid. Mr and Mrs Liddell, the parents of Eric Liddell the famous runner, were also there at the time. [5] In 1900, he moved to Beijing to restore the hospital there which had been almost totally demolished. [6] Cochrane succeeded in obtaining royal support for his work after he healed the Empress Dowager Cixi's chief eunuch and her chief lady in waiting. [7] He decided to establish the hospital as a training hospital to train Chinese as western style doctors, and with the support of the empress and other missionary bodies founded the Peking Union Medical College. [8] To support the students, Cochrane translated western medical books like Heath’s Anatomy (1909) and Heath’s Osteology (1910) into Mandarin. In 1916 the hospital was handed over to the Rockefeller Institute. [9]

Mongolia Landlocked country in East Asia

Mongolia is a landlocked country in East Asia. Its area is roughly equivalent with the historical territory of Outer Mongolia, and that term is sometimes used to refer to the current state. It is sandwiched between China to the south and Russia to the north. Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, although only 37 kilometres (23 mi) separates them.

Eric Liddell Scottish athlete, sprinter, Olympian, Protestant missionary

Eric Henry Liddell was a Scottish Olympic Gold Medalist runner, rugby union international player, and Christian missionary.

Beijing Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Beijing, formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.

Campaigns to promote missionary work

Cochrane believed that missionary work should be co-ordinated, organised and well supplied. In 1913, the Christian Literature Society of China published his Survey of the Missionary Occupation of China with an accompanying atlas showing missionary occupation in the provinces of China. The work called for trained personnel, medical equipment, and supplies. After he returned to England in 1915, he continued to encourage the gathering and promotion of knowledge on the state of missionary work and needs across the world. He founded the Mildmay Movement for World Evangelisation, based in the Mildmay Centre, next to the Mildmay Mission Hospital (a separate and older organisation) in Islington, London. [10] In 1924, together with like minded trustees businessman Sidney J. W. Clark and Roland Allen he set up the Survey Application Trust, an organisation to promote missionary work through publications. [11] He himself served as the editor of the publication World Dominion. [12] In 1949, he founded the publication The World Christian Handbook. [13] His campaigning though his publications and the missionary conferences held at the Mildmay Centre were an inspiration to many at the time to fund and participate in missionary activities. [14]

Islington area in London

Islington is a district in Greater London, England, and part of the London Borough of Islington. It is a mainly residential district of Inner London, extending from Islington's High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy High Street, Upper Street, Essex Road, and Southgate Road to the east.

Roland Allen was an English missionary to China sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG).

Personal life

Cochrane was married twice. He had three sons by his first wife and after she died in 1930, he married again and gained six stepdaughters. He died in Pinner, Middlesex in 1953.

Pinner area of west London

Pinner is a town in the London Borough of Harrow in northwest London, England, 12 miles (19 km) from Charing Cross. It is also in the historic county of Middlesex.

Middlesex historic county of England

Middlesex is an ancient county in southeast England. It is now entirely within the wider urbanised area of London. Its area is now also mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, and existed as an official unit until 1965. The historic county includes land stretching north of the River Thames from 17 miles (27 km) west to 3 miles (5 km) east of the City of London with the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The largely low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, was the second smallest county by area in 1831.


  1. see F.French, p.16
  2. See F. French p.18-19
  3. See F. French p.22-25
  4. See F. French, p.47-52
  5. See F. French p.50
  6. See F. French p.55
  7. See F. French p.64-67
  8. See F.French pp.68-78
  9. See F. French p. 82
  10. See F. French pp.87-92
  11. See F. French p. 94
  12. See F. French p.96
  13. See F. French p.114
  14. Oral history: personal recollections of John Haddon Martin, and S. King p.5-7

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