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BRISTOWE, John Syer (1827-1895)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 TH/PP11
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Full title: BRISTOWE, John Syer (1827-1895)
Date(s): 1893-1895
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 files, 3 volumes
Name of creator(s): Bristowe | John Syer | 1827-1895 | Physician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born at Camberwell on 19 Jan 1827, the son of John Syer Bristowe, a medical practitioner in Camberwell, and Mary Chesshyre his wife. He was educated at Enfield and King's College schools, and entered at St. Thomas's Hospital as a medical student in 1846. A distinguished student, he took the Treasurer's gold medal, in 1848, and in the same year he obtained the gold medal of the Apothecaries' Society for botany. In 1849 he was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and on 2 Aug. 1849 he received the licence of the Society of Apothecaries. In 1850 he took the degree of M.B. of the University of London, gaining the scholarship and medal in surgery and the medals in anatomy and materia medica; in 1852 he was admitted M.D. of the London University.
In 1849 he was house surgeon at St. Thomas's Hospital, and in the following year he was appointed curator of the museum and pathologist to the hospital. He was elected assistant physician in 1854, and during the next few years he held several teaching posts, being appointed lecturer on botany in 1859, on materia medica in 1860, on general anatomy and physiology in 1865, on pathology in 1870. In 1860 he was elected full physician, and in 1876 he became lecturer on medicine, a post which he held until his retirement in 1892, when he became consulting physician to the hospital.
He served many important offices at the Royal College of Physicians. Elected a fellow in 1858, he was an examiner in medicine in 1869 and 1870. In 1872 he was Croonian lecturer, choosing for his subject 'Disease and its Medical Treatment;' in 1879 he was Lumleian lecturer on 'The Pathological Relations of Voice and Speech.' He was censor in 1876, 1886, 1887, 1888, and senior censor in 1889. He was examiner in medicine at the universities of Oxford and London, at the Royal College of Surgeons, and at the war office. He was also medical officer of health for Camberwell (1856-95), physician to the Commercial Union Assurance Company, and to Westminster School.
In 1881 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him at the tercentenary of the Edinburgh University in 1884. He was president of the Pathological Society of London in 1885, of the Neurological Society in 1891, and of the Medical Society of London in 1893. In this year he delivered the Lettsomian lectures on 'Syphilitic Affections of the Nervous System.' He was also president of the Society of Medical Officers of Health, of the Hospitals Association, and of the metropolitan counties' branch of the British Medical Association. In 1887 his term of office as physician to St. Thomas's Hospital having expired, he was appointed for a further term of five years at the unanimous request of his colleagues.
Bristowe married, on 9 Oct. 1856, Miriam Isabelle Stearns of Dulwich. He died on 20 Aug. 1895 at Monmouth. A three-quarter-length portrait by his daughter, Miss Beatrice M. Bristowe, hangs in the committee-room at St. Thomas's Hospital.
He presented to the Public Health Department of the Privy Council a series of important reports 'On Phosphorus Poisoning in Match Manufacture' (1862), 'On Infection by Rags and Paper Works' (1865), 'On the Cattle Plague' (1866) in conjunction with Professor (Sir) J. Burdon Sanderson, and 'On the Hospitals of the United Kingdom' jointly with Mr. Timothy Holmes. He had considerable skill as a draughtsman, and many of the microscopical drawings to be found in his books were the work of his own hand. In particular his figures of trichina spiralis, a parasitic worm in the muscles of man, have been copied into many textbooks.
Publications: Poems, London, 1850; A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Medicine, London, 1876; Clinical Lectures and Essays on Diseases of the Nervous System, 1888; Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health to the Vestry of St. Giles, Camberwell, Surrey, L


Scope and content/abstract:

Collection of watercolour paintings and sketches by John Bristowe and his family including two volumes of watercolours by John S Bristowe, 1886-1895, including images of St Mary's Abbey, York; Studland Bay; Corfe Castle; Matterhorn; Vienna; Craig-y-care; Harlow Mill River Stort; North Wales; (some with loose pages and incomplete); sketch book containing pencil sketches, 1889-1897, including images of Welsh landscapes, Lake Geneva, Bradfield, and Norway; and loose paintings of Bradfield College, Staverton Bridge, Amalfi 1895, Capri, [Loen Nourn] Norway, and various other images; also contains nine watercolour paintings attributed to the daughter of John Bristowe.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archives and Corporate Records Services.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

Presented to St Thomas's Hospital Medical School Library by a daughter of J S Bristowe.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from St Thomas' Hospital Medical School Library in 2002

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: National Dictionary of Biography, CD-ROM (A & C Black) 1995; British Library Public On-line Catalogue. Compiled by Alison Field.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
January 2004

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