Thomas William Drinkwater

Last updated

Thomas William Drinkwater FRSE LRCPE LRCSE (1852-1940) was a British physician, chemist and early forensic analyst, acting as assistant to Sir Henry Littlejohn. He later served as Public Analyst to Edinburgh, Ross and Cromarty, Inverness and Fortrose.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh organization

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) is a medical royal college in Scotland. It is one of three organisations that sets the specialty training standards for physicians in the United Kingdom. It was established by Royal charter in 1681. The college claims to have 12,000 fellows and members worldwide.

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Scottish medical association

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) is an independent, charitable professional organisation committed to advancing surgical excellence through education, training, examinations and CPD, with a focus on patient care and patient outcomes. The College has seven active Faculties, covering the broad spectrum of surgical, dental and other medical practice. Its main campus is located on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, within the William Henry Playfair designed Surgeons' Hall and adjoining buildings. The main campus includes a dedicated skills laboratory, the award-winning Surgeons' Hall Museums, a medical and surgical library and the 4-star Ten Hill Place Hotel. A second office was opened in Birmingham (UK) in 2014 and an international office opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2018.

Henry Littlejohn British surgeon and forensic scientist

Sir Henry Duncan Littlejohn was a Scottish surgeon, forensic scientist and public health pioneer. He is also known as an inspiration for the literary character Sherlock Holmes.


He was described as short, stout and clean-shaven, and was amicably known as "Drinky".


He was born in Ireland in 1852. His family went to England in his youth and he was educated at King’s Lynn Grammar School in Norfolk. He studied under Francis Sutton and A.J. Bernays at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, working on analytical medical issues then did further studies in Germany.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

Norfolk County of England

Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

In 1877 he came to Edinburgh working at Leith Chemical Works whilst also undertaking analytical work for Prof Henry Littlejohn. In his early days in Edinburgh he lived at 6 Preston Street and worked at a laboratory at 19 Marshall Street. [1] From 1878 until 1939 he was Lecturer in Chemistry at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, an impressive 61 years in a single role, and continuing well into his eighties. In 1928 a Jubilee Dinner was held in his honour marking 50 years in each college. He also acted as Examiner in Chemistry in both colleges, granting the qualification ChB to innumerable surgeons and physicians. [2]

Edinburgh Capital city in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

Leith district and former municipal burgh in Scotland

Leith is a port to the north of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, at the mouth of the Water of Leith.

In 1901 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Alexander Crum Brown, Hugh Marshall, Leonard Dobbin and David Hepburn. [3]

Royal Society of Edinburgh academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.

Alexander Crum Brown Scottish organic chemist

Alexander Crum Brown FRSE FRS was a Scottish organic chemist. Alexander Crum Brown Road in Edinburgh's King's Buildings complex is named after him.

Leonard Dobbin was an Irish Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1832 to 1837.

In later life he lived at 25 Blacket Place (an attractive house designed by Sir James Gowans) in southern Edinburgh. [4]

James Gowans (architect) British architect

Sir James Gowans was a maverick Edinburgh architect and builder.

He died on 25 January 1940.


Related Research Articles

William Ramsay British Scottish physical chemist, 1904 Nobel Prize winner

Sir William Ramsay was a Scottish chemist who discovered the noble gases and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904 "in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air" along with his collaborator, John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics that same year for their discovery of argon. After the two men identified argon, Ramsay investigated other atmospheric gases. His work in isolating argon, helium, neon, krypton and xenon led to the development of a new section of the periodic table.

Dean Cemetery historic Victorian cemetery in western Edinburgh

The Dean Cemetery is a historically important Victorian cemetery north of the Dean Village, west of Edinburgh city centre, in Scotland. It lies between Queensferry Road and the Water of Leith, bounded on its east side by Dean Path and on its west by the Dean Gallery. A 20th-century extension lies detached from the main cemetery to the north of Ravelston Terrace. The main cemetery is accessible through the main gate on its east side, through a "grace and favour" access door from the grounds of Dean Gallery and from Ravelston Terrace. The modern extension is only accessible at the junction of Dean Path and Queensferry Road.

Thomas Charles Hope Scottish physician and chemist

Thomas Charles Hope was a Scottish physician, chemist and lecturer. He proved the existence of the element strontium, and gave his name to Hope's Experiment, which shows that water reaches its maximum density at 4 °C (39 °F).

George Wilson (chemist) Scottish chemist, Regius Professor of Technology at the University of Edinburgh

Prof George Wilson PRSSA FRSE(21 February 1818 – 22 November 1859) was a 19th-century Scottish chemist and author. He was Regius Professor of Technology at the University of Edinburgh, and the first Director of the Industrial Museum of Scotland.

Thomas Grainger Stewart Scottish doctor

Sir Thomas Grainger Stewart was an eminent Scottish physician who served as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1889–1891), president of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Edinburgh, president of the medicine section of the British Medical Association, and Physician-in-Ordinary to the Queen for Scotland. He was perhaps best known for describing the condition known as multiple neuritis as well as directing scientific attention in Great Britain to the deep reflexes.

John Halliday Croom

Sir John Halliday Croom FRSE PRCPE PRCSE was a Scottish surgeon and medical author. He served as President of both the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Patrick Newbigging

Patrick Small Keir Newbigging FRSE FRSSA FRCSE (1813–1864) was a Scottish surgeon and general practitioner. He was President of the Royal Medical Society and of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. Together with his father, Sir William Newbigging he formed one of the few father-son pairs of former Presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. His observations on the origin of the heart sounds and of the apex beat of the heart made a significant contribution to the debate.

James Duncan (surgeon) 19th century Scottish surgeon

Dr James Duncan FRSE FRCS FRCSE was a Scottish surgeon and manufacturing chemist responsible for much of the British supply of chloroform in the mid-19th century. From 1839 to 1866 he was Director of Duncan Flockhart & Co one of Scotland’s largest chemical manufacturers.

Dr John Janet Kirk Duncanson FRSE FRCPE (1846–1913) was a Scottish surgeon and botanist, running the Ear, Nose and Throat section of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. The Kirk Duncanson Fellowship for Medical Research is named in his honour. Some documents give his name as John James Kirk Duncanson, but John Janet better explains his use of J J and appears on most official documents. He was a noted amateur botanist which led to his being made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Robert Peel Ritchie

Robert Peel Ritchie FRSE PRCPE (1835-1902) was a Scottish physician and medical historian.

Dr Andrew Fergus Hewat FRSE was a Scottish physician involved with mental health. He donated the Fergus Hewat Cup to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, an annual golf championship. This is played between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and a combined team from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

William Newbigging

Sir William Newbigging FRSE FRCSEd FRGS was a Scottish surgeon who served as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh from 1814 to 1816. He was a keen amateur geographer.

William Preston Lauder FRSE FRCPE FRCSE was a Scottish physician, specialising in obstetrics.

Dr Archibald McKendrick LDS FRSE DPH (1876–1960) was a Scottish dentist and radiologist. He was one of the first people in Britain to use X-rays in dentistry.

Dr John MacWhirter FRSE PRCPE (1783–1854) was a 19th-century Scottish physician who served as President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh from 1831 to 1833.

Dr John Murray FRSE FGS (1778-1820) was a short-lived 19th century Scottish physician and prominent scientist, working in the fields of physics, chemistry, and geology, and described by Brydges as a "Chemical Philiospher". His first important published work, "Elements of Chemistry", appeared when he was only 23.

Major General William Burney Bannerman CSI FRSE was a 19th and 20th century high-ranking Scottish military surgeon. He was one of the first to use Henry Littlejohn's analytical techniques on a large scale, demonstrating the value of inoculation.

John Scott FRSE FRCPE FRCP (1797–1859) was a 19th century Scottish naval surgeon and physician to Queen Victoria in Scotland.

Harvey Littlejohn British forensic scientist

Henry Harvey Littlejohn, was a Scottish forensic scientist and medical officer, who followed in the footsteps of his father, Henry Littlejohn, and continued his adoption of tangential thinking to resolve investigations. His early years were spent at the family home, then at 40 York Place.


  1. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1880-81
  2. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1940, p.391
  3. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0 902 198 84 X.
  4. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1910-11