Lives of the fellows

Peter Wallwork Latham

b.21 October 1832 d.29 October 1923
BA Cantab(1853) MB(1861) MA MD FRCP(1866)

Peter Latham was born at Wigan, the son of John Latham, a doctor, with whom he served an apprenticeship. From Glasgow University he won a scholarship to Caius College, Cambridge, where in 1853 he graduated B.A, having taken a double first in mathematics and natural sciences. He then studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and in Germany, being elected to a fellowship at Downing College, Cambridge, in 1860 and taking the M.B. degree in 1861. A year later he obtained the post of assistant physician at the Westminster Hospital, but in 1863 returned to Cambridge to become physician to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and University reader in medicine. In 1874 he was made Downing professor of medicine. Apart from conducting a large consulting practice, Latham did much, in association with George Humphry and Michael Foster, to increase the efficiency and prestige of the Cambridge Medical School as well as the prosperity of Downing College. He was the first provincial Fellow to serve on the Council of the Royal College of Physicians, and was Croonian Lecturer (1886), Harveian Orator (1888) and Senior Censor. He resigned his chair in 1894 and from Addenbrooke’s in 1899, and finally left Cambridge for London in 1912. Latham was a handsome man of an independent and combative turn of mind and an influential figure in his University. He was twice married: firstly, in 1862 to Jamima Burns, daughter of John McDiarmid of Dumfries, by whom he had two sons and a daughter, and, secondly, in 1884 to Marianne Frances, daughter of J. F. Bernard, F.R.C.P., of Clifton, and niece of John, first Lord Lawrence and Sir Henry Lawrence. One of his sons was A. C. Latham, F.R.C.P., who predeceased him by some six months. He himself was Senior Fellow in the College List when he died at the age of ninety-one.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1923; B.M.J., 1923; Biog.Hist.of Caius College, ii, 319]

(Volume IV, page 153)

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