Lives of the fellows

Edward Rigby

b.1 August 1804 d.27 December 1860
MD Edin FRCP(1843)

Edward Rigby was the son of a prominent Norwich physician, Edward Rigby, by his second wife, the daughter of William Palgrave of Great Yarmouth, and was educated at Norwich Grammar School. After spending a year as a pupil at the Norwich and Norfolk Hospital, he studied medicine at Edinburgh University from 1822 to 1825. Having graduated as M.D, he passed some months in Dublin, where unusual facilities for dissection were available. From 1826 to 1830, he made a special study of midwifery at Berlin and Heidelberg. In the latter University, he was well received by Naegele, whose work On the Mechanism of Parturition he translated in 1830. On his return, he became a house-pupil at the Westminster Lying-In Hospital; he was later junior and senior physician to this institution. In 1831 he was appointed lecturer on midwifery at St. Thomas’s and in 1838 was given the same post at St. Bartholomew’s. He examined for London University from 1841 to 1860. On the foundation of the Obstetrical Society in 1859, he was elected its first president. Rigby was, in fact, regarded as the leading obstetric physician in London after Locock’s retirement. His reputation was enhanced by his writings, which included Memoranda for Young Practitioners in Midwifery, which, first published in 1837, reached a fourth edition in 1868. He was responsible for the second edition of Hunter’s Anatomical Description of the Gravid Uterus in 1843. Retiring and unostentatious in his manner of living, he could be firm and uncompromising in matters of principle — as when he resigned rather than accede to the refusal of the authorities of the Westminster Lying-In Hospital to improve the Hospital’s ventilation. He married, firstly, in 1938 Susan, daughter of John Taylor, F.R.S, by whom he had one daughter, and, secondly, in 1851 Marianne, daughter of S. D. Darbishire of Pendyffrin, North Wales, by whom he had one daughter. He died at Berkeley Square, London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1861; D.N.B., xlviii, 301; B.M.J., 1861]

(Volume IV, page 32)

<< Back to List