Lives of the fellows

George Man Burrows

b.1771 d.29 October 1846
MD St And(1824) LRCP(1824) FRCP(1839)

George Man Burrows, M.D., was born in 1771, at Chalk, near Gravesend, and received his early education at the King’s school, Canterbury; whence he was removed in his sixteenth year and apprenticed to Mr. Richard Thompson, a surgeon apothecary at Rochester. In 1793 he entered at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s hospitals, and having been admitted a member of the Corporation of Surgeons and of the Society of Apothecaries, commenced general practice in London. Whilst thus engaged, his attention was directed to the absence in this country of any provision for testing the medical acquirements of the general practitioner; and in conjunction with some of the most respectable members of that order, he organised the Association of Surgeon-Apothecaries of England and Wales, the object of which as stated by themselves was "to improve the education and render more respectable their own body." Of this Association Dr. Burrows was elected chairman. In that capacity he laboured for three years with untiring zeal, but to the detriment of his private interests and to the injury of his health.

The efforts of the Association resulted in the passing of the Apothecaries Act of 1815. The Association then dissolved itself; but before doing so, the members expressed their sincere thanks to their chairman, and requested his acceptance of five hundred guineas as some compensation for the time he had devoted to their service. On the formation of the first court of examiners of the Society of Apothecaries, Dr. Burrows was appointed one of the members, but from this office he soon retired.

In 1816 he withdrew from general practice, and confined himself to the treatment of insanity. He opened a small asylum for a select number of patients at Chelsea, and in 1823 a larger establishment, the Retreat, at Clapham. On the 3rd July, 1824, he was created doctor of medicine by the university of St. Andrew’s, and on the 30th September following was admitted a Licentiate of the College of Physicians.

By this time Dr. Burrows’ views on insanity were fully matured, and in 1828 he published his valuable Commentaries on the Causes, Forms, Symptoms and Treatment, Moral and Medical, of Insanity. 8vo. Lond. pp. 716. This was by far the most complete and practical treatise on insanity that had then appeared in this country, and was generally approved by the medical press. Dr. Burrows was admitted a Fellow of the College of Physicians 30th September, 1839.

He died 29th October, 1846, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, and was buried in Highgate cemetery. A portrait of Dr. Burrows is at Apothecaries hall. He was one of the founders and editors of the London Medical Repository begun in January, 1814, which soon obtained an extensive circulation at home and abroad. In addition to the Commentaries above mentioned, he was the author of—
Observations on the Comparative Mortality of London and Paris. 8vo. Lond. 1815.
Cursory Remarks on Legislative Regulation of the Insane. 8vo. Lond. 1819.
An Inquiry into Certain Errors relative to Insanity and their Consequences, Physical, Moral and Civil. 8vo. Lond. 1820.
A Letter to Sir Henry Halford, Bart., K.C.H. 8vo. Lond. 1830.

William Munk

(Volume III, page 290)

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