Lives of the fellows

John Thomas Arlidge

b.17 July 1822 d.27 October 1899
BA Lond(1846) MD Lond MRCS LSA FRCP(1869) JP

J. T. Arlidge was born at Chatham, the son of a doctor. He was educated locally and then apprenticed to a general practitioner in Rochester. He completed his medical education at King’s College, being appointed a prosector there and a lecturer on botany at the Aldersgate Street School of Medicine. After taking the degrees of B.A. and M.B. in 1846, he studied the new methods of treating lunatics introduced by Conolly at Hanwell and adopted them himself when appointed, soon afterwards, resident medical officer at St. Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics. On leaving this post, Arlidge travelled abroad with a patient in Europe, Egypt and Palestine, and on his return settled in practice in South Kensington. He obtained appointments as physician to the West London Hospital and to the Surrey, Chelsea and Farringdon Dispensaries and as demonstrator of anatomy and lecturer on psychology and medicine at the Grosvenor Place School.

In 1862, Arlidge, on election as physician to the North Staffordshire Infirmary, moved to Newcastle-under-Lyme. Here he was largely responsible for the reconstruction of the hospital at Hartshill and improvements in the standard of nursing and the after-care of patients. Here, too, as certifying factory surgeon to the Stoke-on-Trent district, he became a pioneer in industrial medicine. He made important investigations into the disease known as potter’s phthisis and the effects of lead-poisoning. His book Hygiene, Diseases and Mortality of Occupations (1892)—an expanded version of his Milroy Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians in 1889—was probably the most comprehensive on the subject that had appeared in England, and he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission of 1893 on conditions of employment in the Potteries. Many of his recommendations were embodied in regulations which effected considerable advances in factory sanitation. Arlidge was also prominent in local municipal affairs and was chosen as mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme for 1878-79. He died there, leaving a widow and one son.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1899; B.M.J., 1899]

(Volume IV, page 167)

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