b.19 March 1812 d.14 December 1892
MD Hon LLD Edin FRCP(1852)
Walter Walshe was the son of William Walshe, a Dublin barrister, and for three years he studied at Trinity College, with the intention of following his father’s profession. But at the age of eighteen he joined his widowed mother in Paris and for the next two years devoted himself to the study of oriental languages. By then, however, he had become strongly attracted to physics and biology, and he determined to be a doctor. He studied at La Charite and La Pitié, amongst the more influential of his friends and teachers being Louis, Dupuytren, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1835 Walshe left Paris for Edinburgh, where his uncle was a well-known minister, and it was there that he qualified in 1836. He entered practice in a humble way in North London at the age of twenty-six and at once began writing articles on pathology which led to his appointment, in 1841, as professor of morbid anatomy at University College. Five years later he was elected Holme professor of clinical medicine, and physician to University College Hospital, and in 1848 professor of the principles and practice of medicine. He was also physician to the Brompton Hospital. In his approach to medicine, Walshe was deliberate, logical and scientific, and he brought to it a wide knowledge both of languages and of literature. His Diseases of the Lungs (1843) became a popular textbook, as also did Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels (1851), both passing into four editions. In later life, his versatility expressed itself in such books as Dramatic Singing Physiologically Estimated (1881) and The Colloquial Linguistic Faculty and its Physiological Ground-work (1885). Although he had imbibed, probably in his Paris days, a certain scepticism of attitude, it was mollified by his Irish charm and innate kindliness. Walshe married Caroline Ellen Baker in 1868 and had one son. He died in London.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1892; B.M.J., 1892; D.N.B., lix, 227; Al.Dubl., 855]
(Volume IV, page 70)
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