Lives of the fellows

Anthony Todd Thomson

b.7 January 1778 d.3 July 1849
MD Edin MRCS FRCP(1842)

Anthony Thomson’s father, Alexander Thomson, was a British official in the Government of Georgia who retired, on the foundation of the American republic, to Edinburgh, where his son was educated, first at the High School and secondly at the University. When he had obtained the degree of M.D, Anthony Thomson started a practice in London, which quickly achieved success. His first work, A Conspectus of the Pharmacopoeias, published in 1810, passed through numerous editions and was brought into line with the British Pharmacopoeia in 1887. His London Dispensatory proved equally popular. In 1812 Thomson was instrumental in founding the Chelsea Dispensary. From 1814 to 1817, he was joint editor of the Medical Depository. To him was due some of the credit for the passing of the Apothecaries Act in 1815. He took an active part in promoting the University of London and, in 1828, was chosen as its first professor of materia medica and therapeutics.

His literary labours continued with an edition of Bateman’s Practical Synopsis of Cutaneous Diseases (1829) and his own Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics (1832). He was appointed joint professor of medical jurisprudence in 1832 and was sole professor from 1837 till his death. He was also physician to the North London Hospital. He lectured on botany at the Pharmaceutical Society, was an early supporter of the Medico-Chirurgical Society and promoted the foundation of the Pathological Society of London. In his later years Thomson, a man of broad intellectual attainments, published two works of general interest, a translation of The Philosophy of Magic, Prodigies and Apparent Miracles, by Salverte, in 1846, and an edition of The Seasons, by James Thomson, in 1847. He married, first, in 1801 Christina Maxwell, by whom he had one son and two daughters. By his second wife, Katherine, daughter of Thomas Byerley, whom he married in 1820, he had three sons and five daughters. She was the author of several historical memoirs. Thomson died at Ealing.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1849; D.N.B., lvi, 235; 265 (Life of Katherine Thomson)]

(Volume IV, page 29)

<< Back to List