Thomas Stevenson (toxicologist)

Last updated
Thomas Stevenson
Thomas Stevenson Vanity Fair 30 November 1899.jpg
"Medical Jurisprudence"
Stevenson as caricatured by A. G. Witherby in Vanity Fair, November 1899
Born14 Apr 1838
Rainton, Yorkshire, England
Died27 July 1908
Streatham, London, England
Alma mater University of London
Guy's Hospital
Scientific career
Fields Toxicologist
Institutions Home Office
Guy's Hospital
Academic advisorsMr Steel of Bradford
Notable students Frederick Hopkins

Thomas Stevenson (1838 – 27 July 1908) was an English toxicologist and forensic chemist. [1] He served as an analyst to the Home Office and in England he served as an expert witness in many famous poisoning cases. These included the Pimlico Mystery, The Maybrick Case, the Lambeth Poisoner, and the George Chapman case. [2]

In 1857 Stevenson became a medical pupil to Mr Steel of Bradford. He entered Guy's Hospital Medical School in 1859 and graduated MB, London, in 1863 and M.D. in 1864. He won several gold medals whilst a student. He became MRCP in 1864 and FRCP in 1871. Stevenson became demonstrator in practical chemistry at Guy's in 1864, and was lecturer in chemistry, 1870–98, and in forensic medicine, 1878–1908, in succession to Alfred Swaine Taylor (1806–80). He also served as the President of the Institute of Chemistry and of the Society of Public Analysts.

He is notable as the scientific mentor of the Nobel Prize winner Frederick Hopkins.

Stevenson died of diabetes on 27 July 1908 at his home in Streatham High Road, London and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery. He was a man of deep Christian faith, as was his wife, Agnes. All their seven children followed in their parents footsteps. Mabel trained as doctor and became a medical missionary in India before returning home and becoming a nun at the House of the Epiphany in Truro; another daughter, Alice later joined this order too as a nun.

The British Medical Journal obituary, besides detailing his notable career, noted his Christian faith and service:

‘He was a diligent student of the Bible; indeed, his character and life were the direct result of his constant and abiding faith in God, every act being simply and solely done for His glory.’


  1. "STEVENSON, Sir Thomas". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1676.
  2. Obituary. Sir Thomas Stevenson, M.D., F.R.C.P. Br. Med. J. 1908, 2, pp. 361–362.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bernard Spilsbury</span> British pathologist (1877–1947)

Sir Bernard Henry Spilsbury was a British pathologist. His cases include Hawley Crippen, the Seddon case, the Major Armstrong poisoning, the "Brides in the Bath" murders by George Joseph Smith, the Crumbles murders, the Podmore case, the Sidney Harry Fox matricide, the Vera Page case, and the murder trials of Louis Voisin, Jean-Pierre Vaquier, Norman Thorne, Donald Merrett, Alfred Rouse, Elvira Barney, Toni Mancini, and Gordon Cummins. Spilsbury's courtroom appearances became legendary for his demeanour of effortless dominance.

Francis Edward Camps, FRCP, FRCPath was an English pathologist notable for his work on the cases of serial killer John Christie and suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Brooke O'Shaughnessy</span>

Sir William Brooke O'Shaughnessy MD FRS was an Irish physician famous for his wide-ranging scientific work in pharmacology, chemistry, and inventions related to telegraphy and its use in India. His medical research led to the development of intravenous therapy and introduced the therapeutic use of Cannabis sativa to Western medicine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ernest Barnes</span> British mathematician (1874–1953)

Ernest William Barnes was a British mathematician and scientist who later became a liberal theologian and bishop.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Guy</span> British statistician

William Augustus Guy was a British physician and medical statistician.

Rudolph August WitthausJr. was an American physician, chemist, and toxicologist. He was the top authority on poisons in the United States and was a forensic toxicologist in many important capital murder cases of the late19th and early 20th centuries. He was also a survivor of the sinking of the SS Ville du Havre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alfred Swaine Taylor</span> English toxicologist and medical writer (1806–1880)

Alfred Swaine Taylor was an English toxicologist and medical writer, who has been called the "father of British forensic medicine". He was also an early experimenter in photography.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Edward Thorpe</span> British chemist

Sir Thomas Edward Thorpe CB, FRS HFRSE LLD was a British chemist. From 1894 to 1909 he was Chief Chemist to the British Government, as Director of the Government Laboratory.

The Reverend Sir David Thomas Rocyn-Jones, CBE, K St J, DL, JP was a Welsh medical officer of health and servant of multiple professional bodies within Wales.

Arthur Pearson Luff (1855-1938) was a British physician and forensic chemist. He is considered one of the founders of 20th century forensic medicine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Richard Fraser</span> British physician and pharmacologist

Sir Thomas Richard Fraser was a British physician and pharmacologist. Together with Alexander Crum Brown he discovered the relationship between physiological activity and chemical constitution of the body.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Golding Bird</span> British medical doctor

Golding Bird was a British medical doctor and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He became a great authority on kidney diseases and published a comprehensive paper on urinary deposits in 1844. He was also notable for his work in related sciences, especially the medical uses of electricity and electrochemistry. From 1836, he lectured at Guy's Hospital, a well-known teaching hospital in London and now part of King's College London, and published a popular textbook on science for medical students called Elements of Natural Philosophy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Littlejohn</span> British surgeon and forensic scientist

Sir Henry Duncan Littlejohn MD LLD FRCSE was a Scottish surgeon, forensic scientist and public health official. He served for 46 years as Edinburgh's first Medical Officer of Health, during which time he brought about significant improvements in the living conditions and the health of the city's inhabitants. He also served as a police surgeon and medical adviser in Scottish criminal cases.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charles Hilton Fagge</span> English physician

Charles Hilton Fagge (1838–1883) was an English physician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Morison Legge</span> British physician

Sir Thomas Morison Legge CBE was a British physician who served as medical inspector to improve industrial hygiene.

Charles Meymott Tidy (1843–1892) was an English medical man and sanitary chemist, a barrister who wrote also on legal matters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">C. Ainsworth Mitchell</span> British chemist and forensic scientist

Charles Ainsworth Mitchell was a British chemist and forensic scientist who made a special study of the microscopic and chemical study of handwriting. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and the Chemical Society, and member of the Society of Public Analysts He was editor of The Analyst for 25 years, president of the Medico-Legal Society (1935–1937), and vice president of the Society of Chemistry (1937–1940).

August Dupré (1835–1907) was a German chemist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and naturalised in the United Kingdom in 1866.

Gerald Roche Lynch OBE FRIC DPH (1889–1957) was a British forensic scientist and public health analyst associated with several infamous murders as a medico-legal expert. An expert on poisons he appeared as an expert witness in multiple murder cases in the 20th century.