Lives of the fellows

Samuel Fenwick

b.1821 d.11 December 1902
MD St And Hon MD Durh MRCS FRCP(1870)

Samuel Fenwick was born at Earlsdon House near Newcastle-on-Tyne, the descendant of a Northumbrian family that could trace its ancestry back for seven centuries. Owing to financial losses suffered by his father he was apprenticed to the Royal Infirmary at Newcastle when only fourteen and qualified at the age of twenty-one. He then started practice in North Shields, where his abilities and his family name soon brought him success. He was appointed, first, lecturer on pathological anatomy, and then examiner in medicine at Durham University. Soon after he was thirty, he settled in Newcastle as a consulting physician, and rapidly obtained a practice that extended over the whole of the north of England.

In 1862 he moved again, to London, and after a period of struggle for recognition became assistant physician to the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. In 1868 he received the same appointment at the London Hospital and in 1879 was made full physician there. The London Hospital Medical School was then in its infancy, and Fenwick lectured on various subjects without remuneration, and in some cases paid his demonstrators out of his own pocket. His Student's Guide to Medical Diagnosis (1869) passed through a number of editions and was translated into several languages, and his Outlines of Medical Treatment (1879) went into four editions. He contributed an article on diseases of the stomach to Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine, and it was in this subject that he specialized, though he was an admirable diagnostician in all departments of medicine. Fenwick was a reticent but kindly man and, without ever appearing hurried, accomplished an immense amount of work. Thanks to the organization of his private practice, with three separate dressing-rooms, he was able to see more patients than most consultants, and his reputation was such that his private practice remained as large as ever after he had retired from hospital work in 1896. He left five sons, all of whom entered the medical profession, and three daughters.

G H Brown

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

(Volume IV, page 182)

<< Back to List