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CLARK, Sir Andrew (1826-1893)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0113 MS-CLARA
Held at: Royal College of Physicians
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Full title: CLARK, Sir Andrew (1826-1893)
Date(s): c.1870
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 volume
Name of creator(s): Clark | Sir | Andrew | 1826-1893 | Knight | physician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Andrew Clark was born on 28 October 1826 in Aberdeen, the only son of Andrew Clark, a doctor practicing in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire. His mother died during his birth and his father died when Clark was seven years old. Two bachelor uncles directed his education; he went to school in Aberdeen and at the age of thirteen was apprenticed to a doctor in Dundee. During his apprenticeship he attended the Tay Square Academy and the wards of the Royal Infirmary. In 1842, and then from 1843-46, he studied at Edinburgh University as an extra-academical student, winning medals in most of his classes. He took the diploma for membership of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MRCS) in 1844, and developed an interest in pathology. He returned to Edinburgh and was for some time assistant to the eminent physician John Hughes Bennett, in the pathological department of the Royal Infirmary.

Due to the appearance of the early symptoms of phthisis Clark sort an outdoor life, and from 1846-53 he held a commission as an assistant surgeon in the medical service of the Royal Navy. He made a voyage to Madeira in 1847, but for most of the six years was employed on pathological work at the Royal Navy Hospital at Haslar. Here he taught the use of the microscope in clinical and pathological work.

In 1853 Clark retired from the navy and was appointed to the new curatorship of the museum at the London Hospital. He remained in this position for eight years, although the impetus of his initial enthusiasm was lost when in 1854 Clark was also elected assistant physician to the hospital. It has been said that `his new appointment revealed the true nature of his genius', and he quickly built up a huge reputation in both the wards of the hospital and in private practice (Munk's Roll, 1955, p.93). He had begun practice in Montague Street, Bloomsbury, and became famed for his `remarkable powers of observation, thoroughness and scientific approach' (ibid, p.94). He also became well known for giving elaborate directions to his patients as to their diet, despite this being considered by some of his contemporaries a rather antiquated therapy. He believed that many maladies were due to poor diet and lifestyle. It was also in 1854 that he graduated MD from the University of Aberdeen, and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians.

From 1855-56 Clark was assistant physician at the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. He held the lectureship in physiology at the London Hospital from 1856-62. In 1858 he was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1860 he was Lettsomian Lecturer at the Medical Society of London. He was joint lecturer in medicine at the London Hospital from 1865 to 1870, and was promoted to full physician there in 1866. By then Clark had also acquired `a larger practice than any other physician of his time' (DNB, 1901, p.23). During the cholera epidemic of 1866, which raged throughout the East End of London, he became friends with, and physician to, the Gladstones. William Gladstone, statesman and four times prime minister, was one of Clark's many famous patients.

Although he published no large medical work Clark made many contributions to medical knowledge, through lectures, addresses, and articles. His special interest was in pulmonary diseases, in particular phthisis. At the Royal College of Physicians in 1867 Clark delivered the Croonian Lectures, on the subject of pulmonary diseases. In the same year he moved home and practice to a large house in Cavendish Square, where his private practice continued to expand. In 1871 he became president of the Medical Society of London.

Clark was made a baronet in 1883, at the instigation of Gladstone, then Prime Minister, in recognition of his services to medical science. Two years later he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and was Lumleian Lecturer at the Royal College of Physicians, again lecturing on pulmonary diseases. He also served as censor at the College. In 1886 Clark was made consulting physician at the London Hospital, after twenty years service as physician. He continued to give lectures in his capacity as Emeritus Professor of Clinical Medicine, until his death.

In 1888, Clark became president of the Royal College of Physicians, serving in this office until his death. He became consulting physician both of the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, in 1892, and of the East London Hospital for Children. He was made honorary president of the Naval Medical Examining Board, and had been president of the Metropolitan Counties Branch of the British Medical Association. In recognition of his position and status in the medical profession, the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Cambridge awarded him the degree of LLD, whilst Dublin awarded him an honorary MD. He was elected president of the Medical and Chirurgical Society in 1892, and was presiding over this body and the Royal College of Physicians at the time of his death.

Clark had married Seton Mary Percy Forster in 1851, and they had had one son and two daughters. His first wife died in 1858, and in 1862 he married Helen Annette Alphonso, with whom he also had a son and two daughters. Clark suffered a stroke in October 1893. During his illness the Queen desired that she daily be kept informed of his condition. He died just over 2 weeks later at his home in Cavendish Square in London on 6 November 1893. After a service at Westminster Abbey he was buried at Essendon, Hertfordshire, where he had recently bought a country house.

He authored a number of tracts & chapters in medical publications.
Fibroid Diseases of the Lung, including Fibroid Phthisis, Sir Andrew Clark, Wilfred James Hadley & Thomas Hancock Arnold Chaplin (London, 1894)
Medical Nursing; edited by E.F. Lamport, with an introductory biographical note by Sir Andrew Clark, James Anderson & Sir Andrew Clark, Ethel Lamport (ed.) (London, 1894)
The Physician's Testimony for Christ, with a preface by Sir Dyce Duckworth, Sir Andrew Clark & Sir Dyce Duckworth (London, 1894)


Scope and content/abstract:

Clark's papers, c.1870, consist of his notes of lectures on anatomy and physiology, in his hand. It is thought the lectures were delivered at the London Hospital.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

All requests should be referred to the Archivist

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Provenance of the collection is unknown

Allied Materials

Related material:

There is a significant amount of material relating to Clark, and created by him, amongst Sir William Henry Allchin's papers, including Allchin's biography of Clark, draft typescript with annotations, n.d. (MS-ALLCW/15); Materials for the biography of Clark, including Clark's papers such as lecture notes, printed copies of addresses given by Clark, his letter book, correspondence between Clark and Allchin, and between Allchin and others about Clark, biographic notes regarding Clark's birth and parentage, newspaper cuttings and photographs relating to him, and obituaries of him, 1844-1903 (MS-ALLCW/711-714).

There is a large amount of material relating specifically to College business undertaken by Clark in his role as president. This includes correspondence regarding cases where names of College members, including Clark's, have been associated with public advertising, a breach of College ethics, 1887-93 (MS2412/45-46, 53, 106, 117, 140, 175, 191-196); Correspondence regarding cases of professional misconduct, 1888-93 (MS2362/1; MS2365a; MS2369/2-3, 7; MS2375/46, 52; MS2385/7; MS2411/116, 133; MS2413/5, 31-32); Letter from Clark to colleagues regarding the publication of Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard's animal experiments, 1889 (MS-BROWC/980/65); Clark's signature on College address to Queen Victoria on death of her grandson, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, 1892 (MS1042/24); Letters from Norman Moore to Clark about Moore's delivery of the Bradshaw Lectures, 1888-89 (MS1014/6-7).

There is material relating to Clark's professional role as a physician and as a member of the College, including letters from Clark confirming his attendance at the College's Harveian Dinner, 1884 (MS1024/58), and regarding his coat of arms for the College armorial window, 1888 (MS1094/27); Invitation to Clark to the laying of the foundation stone of the College's new examination hall, 1886 (MS2025/37); Clark's name appears as a referee in a circular regarding Thomas P. Harvey's missionary work in China and Burma, 1875 (MS4049/1). There are also some of Clark's letters in the College's Autographed Letters Collection (ALS).

References are made to Clark throughout the College archives, in an extract of the minutes of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh expressing their sympathy over Clark's death, 1893 (MS2338/23); Minutes of the Sir Andrew Clark Memorial Committee, and correspondence regarding the committee and his portrait, 1894 (MS2003/35/115; MS2132/1-15; MS2133); Correspondence referring to Clark's portrait, 1893, 1921-24 (MS2004/44-46; MS554/227); Letters from Thomas Oldfield, Clark's son-in-law, donating a miniature of Clark to the College, 1928 (MS2002/8-9).

Clark's correspondence with Sir Henry Burdett is held at Bodleian Library Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, Oxford University; Correspondence with the Gladstone Family is held at St Deiniol's Library (correspondence address: Flintshire Record Office); Minutes, memoranda and correspondence with W.E. Gladstone is held at the British Library Manuscripts Collection. See the National Register of Archives for details.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 1826-1925, compiled by G.H. Brown (London, 1955) [Munk.s Roll, 1955, pp.93-94]; Dictionary of National Biography, Supplement, Vol. II, Sidney Lee (ed.) (London, 1901) [DNB, 1901, pp.23-24]; `Obituary - Sir Andrew Clark', British Medical Journal, 1893 Vol. II, [BMJ, 1893, pp.1055-62]; `Obituary - The Late Sir Andrew Clark', The Lancet, 1893, Vol. II, pp.1222-26; `Sir Andrew Clark, Bart', William Selby Church, Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, Vol. LXXVII (London, 1894), pp.1-12; `Personal Reminiscences of Sir Andrew Clark', E.H. Pitcairn, Strand Magazine, Vol. 7 No. 9, 1894, pp.65-76; `Life of Sir Andrew Clark', Sir William Henry Allchin (1896) (unpublished manuscript held in RCP archives); Historical Manuscripts Commission On-Line National Register of Archives.
Compiled by Katharine Williams

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:
Compiled July 2003; Modified September 2003

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