Lives of the fellows

Thomas Bevill Peacock

b.21 December 1812 d.31 May 1882
MD Edin MRCS LSA FRCP(1850)

Thomas Peacock, the son of Thomas Peacock, a Quaker merchant of York, and his wife Sarah Bevill, was apprenticed to a Darlington surgeon. He then attended University College, London, and St. George’s Hospital and qualified in 1835. In that year and the next, he made two voyages to Ceylon as a ship’s surgeon, for his health’s sake, and afterwards spent some months studying in Paris. His first employment, on his return, was as house surgeon at Chester Infirmary, but in 1841 he moved to Edinburgh to qualify for his M.D. degree and served as house surgeon and pathologist at the Royal Infirmary. He began to practise in London a year or two after graduating. His first appointments were as physician to the Aldersgate Street Dispensary and the Royal Free Hospital. At this time, he was the moving force behind the foundation of the Liverpool Street Hospital, which became the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. Peacock was its first physician and, in that capacity, and later as consulting physician, remained in close connection with it for the rest of his life. In 1849 St. Thomas’s Hospital elected him assistant physician, and in 1860 full physician. He lectured on materia medica and medicine, supervised the skin clinic, and actively supported the School of Nursing. A voluminous note-taker, he was inclined to be laborious and dry as a lecturer. His copious written works, of which the more important were On Malformation of the Human Heart (1866) and On the Prognosis in Cases of Valvular Disease of the Heart (1877), bore the same traits, and their lack of generalisation perhaps accounted for his failure to be elected an F.R.S. At the Royal College of Physicians, Peacock was Croonian Lecturer (1865) and Censor, and he examined in medicine for the Royal College of Surgeons. He was a founder and successively secretary, vice-president and president of the Pathological Society. A keen traveller, he paid frequent visits to the Mediterranean and to North and South America in his vacations. He married Cornelia Walduck in 1850; they had no children. He died in St. Thomas’s Hospital.

G H Brown

[St. Thomas's Hospital Reports, 1882, N.S., xi, 179; Med.-Chir.Trans., 1883, lxvi, 20; D.N.B., xliv, 143]

(Volume IV, page 61)

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