Lives of the fellows

Samuel Walton Wheaton

b.1861 d.5 September 1948
MB Lond(1887) MD MRCS DPH FRCP(1906)

Samuel Wheaton was a native of Salisbury. Both before and after becoming a medical student at St. Thomas’s Hospital, he acted as personal secretary to Sir Henry Fawcett, the blind Postmaster-General, but, in spite of these duties, he was able to win the Mead medal in 1886, when he qualified. Graduating as M.B. in 1887, he served his house appointments at St. Thomas’s and then became a consultant in obstetrics. He was elected physician to the Royal Hospital for Children and Women in the Waterloo Road and to the Surrey Dispensary. Before the turn of the century, however, his interest had veered to public health — in which he had already taken the Conjoint Board’s diploma — and, relinquishing his hospital appointments, he became an inspector for the old Local Government Board and later, on the foundation of the Ministry of Health, one of its medical officers. His early public health work concerned the control of epidemics and the improvement of sanitary administration. Latterly he was responsible for the Board’s new maternity and child-welfare service. He acted, too, as an assessor to the Miners’ Welfare Committee. Wheaton’s unrivalled knowledge of sanitary conditions in England was due in part to his custom of making all his inspections on foot. A great walker, he claimed to have visited every village in South Wales. He brought his interest in geology to bear on questions of public water-supply. His other enthusiasm was for oil painting. His boldly-coloured landscapes were frequently exhibited.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1948; B.M.J., 1948]

(Volume IV, page 480)

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