b.6 March 1845 d.22 August 1909
MD Lond MRCS FRCP(1887)
Henry Radcliffe Crocker was born at Brighton, the son of Henry Radcliffe Crocker, educated at a private school there, and apprenticed to a doctor at Silverdale, Staffordshire. He continued his medical studies at University College, London, passing his examinations with high honours and qualifying in 1873. He then filled various junior appointments at University College Hospital, the Brompton Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital. He had indeed gained a wide experience of general medicine when he decided to specialise in diseases of the skin. He first worked on this subject under Tilbury Fox, and on the latter’s death in 1879 was appointed to succeed him as physician and dermatologist to University College Hospital. He had already been elected, in the previous year, assistant physician to the East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell, which he served as full physician from 1884 to 1893.
It was due largely to Crocker, following in the wake of Tilbury Fox, that dermatology was reduced to some semblance of scientific order. At the outset of his career he recognised the importance of histology, aided by the microscope, and the educative and diagnostic value of exact pictorial representations, in the elucidation of skin diseases. His two great works, Diseases of the Skin (1888) and Atlas of Diseases of the Skin (1893-96), each met an urgent need, and he became known as one of the world’s leading dermatologists. Crocker contributed both to Quain’s Dictionary and Allbutt’s System of Medicine and in 1903 delivered the Lettsomian Lectures to the Medical Society of London. He was a member of almost every foreign dermatological society and held office as treasurer of the B.M.A. from 1903 to 1906. Thus, after struggling undaunted from his earliest days, first against poverty and then against illness, he lived to receive an ample reward for his labours. He married in 1880 Constance Mary, daughter of Dr. Edward Fussell of Brighton; they had no children. He died while on holiday at Engelberg in Switzerland.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1909; B.M.J., 1909; D.N.B., 2nd Suppl., iii, 149]
(Volume IV, page 321)
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