Lives of the fellows

Frederick Thomas Roberts

b.4 May 1840 d.28 July 1918
BSc Lond(1862) MD Hon DSc Wales MRCS FRCP(1877)

Born in Cardigan, Frederick Roberts received his medical training as an apprentice in Carmarthen and at the Liverpool School of Medicine and University College, London. He qualified in 1861 and took the degree of B.Sc. in the following year. His first appointments were in Liverpool, as physician to the Northern Hospital and lecturer at the School of Medicine, but he returned to London to become, in 1870, demonstrator of anatomy at University College. Election as assistant physician to University College Hospital soon followed and in 1877 he was made full physician. He was professor of materia medica from 1878 to, 1895, of the principles and practice of medicine from 1895 to 1900 and of clinical medicine from 1900 to 1905. He was also on the staff of the Brompton Hospital. He delivered the Lettsomian Lectures before the Medical Society of London in 1895 and the Lumleian Lectures (1902) and the Harveian Oration (1905) to the Royal College of Physicians, of which he was a Censor. In 1874 he wrote a Handbook of the Theory and Practice of Medicine which reached a tenth edition in 1909. He acted as assistant editor of Quain’s Dictionary of Medicine and contributed to Allbutt’s System of Medicine. His writings like his lectures displayed a predilection for classifying, which, exaggerated as it was, proved valuable to students preparing for examination. He was, nevertheless, a master of exact clinical observation and the demonstration of physical signs. Roberts was one of the first to emphasise the importance of decayed teeth as a factor in ill health. Personally he was a sociable man, a lover of music and a fine singer.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1918; B.M.J., 1918]

(Volume IV, page 252)

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