Lives of the fellows

John Curnow

b.1846 d.5 July 1902
MB Lond(1870) MD MRCS FRCP(1878)

John Curnow was born at Towednack near St. Ives, Cornwall, the son of Andrew Curnow, yeoman, and apprenticed to a local doctor. His career as a student at King’s College, London, was marked by a succession of brilliant examination results, and, having qualified in 1868 and taken the M.B. degree in 1870, he was made a demonstrator of anatomy at King’s College in the latter year, and succeeded to the chair of anatomy in 1873. He was elected assistant physician to King’s College Hospital in 1874, physician with charge of outpatients in 1882 and full physician in 1890. In addition, he performed the duties of dean of the Medical School from 1883 to 1896 and then occupied the chair of clinical medicine for the remainder of his life. From 1878 to 1897 he was physician to the Seamen’s Hospital, Greenwich. Curnow delivered the Goulstonian Lectures before the Royal College of Physicians in 1879. He wrote articles for Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine and served on the editorial staff of the Lancet for twenty-five years. Although he was not a fluent lecturer, his keen powers of observation, derived from his skill as an anatomist, and his accuracy of diagnosis and prognosis made him an exemplary clinical teacher. His jovial, bucolic appearance and unpolished manner perhaps reduced his practice, but he made a capable, if autocratic, dean. Unmarried and a mason, he found his main relaxation in sea fishing in Cornwall.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1902; B.M.J., 1902; Lyle, 275]

(Volume IV, page 255)

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