Lives of the fellows

Robert Druitt

b.December 1814 d.15 May 1883
MD Lambeth FRCS(1845) LSA FRCP(1874)

Robert Druitt came of a family long connected with the medical profession, both on his father’s and on his mother’s sides. His father, Robert Druitt, was a surgeon practising at Wimborne, and it was at the local grammar school that Robert received a sound classical education. His uncle, Charles Mayo, F.R.C.S, surgeon to the Winchester Hospital, was responsible for his medical apprenticeship, from his seventeenth to his twentieth year. In 1834 he enrolled as a student at the Middlesex Hospital and at King’s College, London, where another relation, Herbert Mayo, F.R.C.S, held a professorship. After qualifying in 1837, he started to practise in London. He also began work on his famous handbook The Surgeon's Vade-Mecum which, published first in 1839, ran through eleven editions, each carefully revised in the light of recent developments. It was translated into several languages and over forty thousand copies were sold. Druitt became an F.R.C.S. in 1845.

Druitt’s practice, mainly general and obstetric, increased steadily, aided by a period of study in Paris under Pajot in 1852. He developed a new interest on becoming, in 1856, medical officer of health to St. George’s, Hanover Square — an office which he held for nine years — and three years later read a paper to architects on The Construction and Management of Human Habitations, considered in relation to the Public Health. From 1864 to 1872 he was president of the Metropolitan Association of Medical Officers of Health. Concurrently he edited the Medical Times and Gazette. An investigator of the effects of intemperance, he published, in the pages of the latter in 1864-65, a series of reports on the "cheap wines" imported from Continental countries. After retiring in 1872, he travelled abroad and wrote a series of Letters from Madras on subjects varying from The Varicosity of Lymphatics to Dancing Girls. He was a man with keen powers of observation and a wide knowledge that embraced not only medicine but the scriptures, music, and the classics. He married in 1845 a daughter of William Hop-kinson of Euston Road, London, by whom he had four daughters and three sons.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1883; Medical Times and Gazette, 1883; Lyle, 29; Plarr, i, 348; D.N.B., xvi, 22]

(Volume IV, page 223)

<< Back to List