Lives of the fellows

Francis Warner

b.10 July 1847 d.26 October 1926

Francis Warner, the son of James Neatby Warner, was educated at home as a boy and then won a junior scholarship to King’s College, London. There he studied medicine, passing his examinations brilliantly. After qualifying in 1870, he served in junior appointments at King’s College Hospital, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He made a special study of children — particularly of the early signs of nervous abnormalities — and was elected to the staff of the East London Hospital for Children. In 1877 he became registrar to the London Hospital and two years later was appointed assistant physician, becoming full physician in 1896. He retired to the consulting staff in 1913, but returned to work in the Hospital during the 1914-18 War. Warner lectured in the London Hospital Medical School on botany, materia medica and therapeutics, and the neuroses and psychoses of children. In 1887 he was Hunterian professor at the Royal College of Surgeons, of which he had been elected a Fellow in 1873, and in 1892 Milroy Lecturer at the Royal College of Physicians.

In his attempts to relate the first movements of infants with their earliest manifestations of mind, Warner found himself in a mainly unexplored field and accomplished much original work on the subject. In 1888 he began a methodical examination of 100,000 London schoolchildren, of which reports were published by the United States Commissioner of Education and the B.M.A. His eminence in this field was recognised by his appointment to the Royal Commission on Blind, Dumb and Defective Children of 1889 and to later departmental committees investigating similar questions. Some of his recommendations were afterwards embodied in legislation. His approach to such problems was predominantly clinical, and his conclusions were based on an immense number of meticulously recorded observations. Warner was an unostentatious little man, with few social graces and none of the arts of popularity. He married in 1880 Louisa Loder, daughter of William Howard of Hampstead, and had a son and a daughter.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1926; B.M.J., 1926; Lyle, 164; Plarr, ii, 488]

(Volume IV, page 297)

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