Lives of the fellows

Peyton Blakiston

b.25 September 1801 d.17 December 1878
MA MD Cantab FRCP(1843) FRS

Peyton Blakiston, born at Milford in Hampshire, the seventh son of a Derbyshire baronet, Sir Matthew Blakiston, was educated at Eton and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, which elected him to a Dixie fellowship. In 1824, he took Holy Orders and was given a curacy in Warwickshire. Six years later, he was chosen as incumbent of Lymington in Hampshire but, in 1833, the threat of consumption compelled him to place himself under the care of Louis in Paris. When it became apparent that he might not be able to preach again, he resolved to enter the medical profession. He spent the next few years in study at Cambridge and in Paris, where he took a special interest in cholera and diseases of the chest. Having qualified in 1837, he started to practise in Birmingham. His first post was at the General Dispensary and was followed by the appointment of physician to the Birmingham General Hospital in 1841. He was a stimulating lecturer to students. To laymen he was known for his lectures on chemistry and on the stethoscope at the local Philosophical Institution. His first publication was concerned with the influenza epidemic of 1837. In 1848, his Practical Observations on Certain Diseases of the Chest, and on the Principles of Auscultation revealed him as a leader in the new domain of study opened up by Louis and Laennec.

The state of his health again obliged Blakiston to change his surroundings, and in 1848 he moved to St. Leonards, where, until his retirement in 1871, he was regarded as the town’s leading physician. In 1865 his publication of Clinical Observations on Diseases of the Heart and Thoracic Aorta expounded the lessons of thirty years of practice. In his retirement he produced a volume of lectures on Modern Society in its Religious and Social Aspects (1877) and a collection of Clinical Reminiscences (1878). His wife was Frances, daughter of John Folliott Powell of Derby. He died at Harley Street, London.

G H Brown

[B.M.J., 1879; Medical Times and Gazette, 1879; Med.-Chir.Procs., 1879, viii, 397; Al.Cantab., iI, 292]

(Volume IV, page 30)

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