Lives of the fellows

Thomas Turner

b.1772 d.10 March 1865
MB Cantab(1799) MD(1804) FRCP(1805)

Thomas Turner, M.D., was born in London, and was the son of an opulent West India merchant. He was educated at the Charterhouse, and subsequently at Gottingen, on returning from which he was entered at Trinity college, Cambridge, and as a member of that house proceeded M.B. 1799; M.D. 1804. He passed the winter of 1796-7 in Edinburgh. Dr. Turner was admitted a Candidate of the College of Physicians 1st October, 1804, and a Fellow 30th September, 1805. He was Censor in 1807, 1817, 1827, 1829; Harveian orator 1822; Elect 24th April, 1829, and Consiliarius in 1836, 1844, 1845, 1846. He was elected Treasurer 23rd December, 1822, in place of Dr. Currey, deceased, and was in that responsible and onerous office during the building of the college edifice in Pall-mall East.

His exertions in this capacity were indefatigable, and his management of the pecuniary affairs of the College most judicious. At the first quarterly Comitia after the opening of the new building the assembled Fellows, on the proposition of the President, acknowledged their sense of Dr. Turner’s services by the unanimous vote of a piece of plate, which bore the following brief but expressive inscription from the pen of Sir Henry Halford, Bart.:—
Thomæ Turner, M.D.
Thesaurario Diligenti, Fido, Prudenti;
Coll: Reg: Med: Londin:
Novis ædibus extructis

Dr. Turner was annually re-elected Treasurer for more than twenty years. He resigned that office 25th June, 1845, when, to quote the entry in the Annals, "It was resolved unanimously that a piece of plate of the value of 100l. Should be presented to Dr. Turner for his long, faithful, and valuable services as Treasurer of the College." Dr. Turner was appointed assistant physician to St. Thomas’s hospital in 1800, and physician in 1802, which office he resigned in 1816. In 1830 he was gazetted physician extraordinary to queen Adelaide.

Sir Robert Peel appointed him a metropolitan commissioner in Lunacy on the first introduction of that commission, which appointment he retained until the Metropolitan Commission was superseded by the present Board of Commissioners in Lunacy, of which he was one of the earliest members, and he retained his seat at that board until his final withdrawal from professional work in 1856. When over ninety years of age, Dr. Turner, in walking early in the evening from his club to his house in Curzon-street, was attacked by a gang of ruffians, garotted, and very hardly handled by them, with the effect, however, of dispersing and permanently curing a large goitre from which he had long suffered, and which had resisted much of more orthodox and milder treatment. This venerable physician, who had long been the father of the College, died at his house in Curzon-street 10th March, 1865, aged ninety-three.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 26)

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