Lives of the fellows

William Ogle

b.21 December 1827 d.12 April 1912
BA Oxon(1849) BM(1858) MA DM FRCP(1866)

William Ogle was the fourth son of J. A. Ogle, F.R.C.P., Regius professor of medicine at Oxford. He went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, from Rugby, took his B.A. degree in 1849 with a first class in natural science and was elected a fellow of the College. He took holy orders and was made junior bursar in 1853, but then decided in favour of a medical career and enrolled as a student at St. George’s Hospital, from which he proceeded to his B.M. degree in 1858. He was elected lecturer on physiology at St. George’s and in 1869 assistant physician. However, owing to ill health, he gave up his hospital appointments in 1872 and became medical officer of health for East Hertfordshire. His work there attracted the attention of Sir George Buchanan, then principal medical officer to the Local Government Board, and in 1880 he succeeded Farr as chief of the statistical department of the General Register Office. Here he was responsible for the census reports of 1881 and 1891 and for the Decennial Supplement to the report of the Registrar-General for 1871-80, and did much to improve the system of vital statistics, whose foundations had been laid down by Farr — particularly in the field of occupational mortality. He was a weighty contributor to the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society and a member of the Royal Commission on the Metropolitan Water Supply in 1893. After his retirement in 1903, Ogle, who was an erudite classical scholar, devoted himself mainly to the study and translation of the works of Aristotle. Already in 1882, he had published a translation of De Partibus Animalium, with an introduction and notes and, in 1897, he published translations of De Juventute et Senectute, De Respiratione and De Vita et Morte. He also produced an English edition of Professor Kerner’s Flowers and their Unbidden Guests, with a preface by Darwin. Personally, in spite of the somewhat mysterious ill health that had caused his early retirement from private and hospital practice, Ogle was a man of robust, broad-shouldered physique. He numbered amongst his friends many of the leading scientists of his day, including Darwin, Hooker, and Ray Lankester. His wife was the daughter of Allen Block of Highgate; there were no children of the marriage.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1912; B.M.J., 1912; Oxford Magazine, 1912, 305; Al.Oxon., iii, 1038]

(Volume IV, page 154)

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