b.26 July 1842 d.2 January 1926
CBE(1920) MB CM Edin(1867) MD Hon LLD Liverp Edin Hon Doctor Padua FRCP(1888)
Richard Caton was born at Bradford, the son of Richard Caton, M.D, and his wife Mary Fawcett. He was sent to Scarborough Grammar School for his education and acquired there a love of the classics which he cultivated throughout life. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating as M.B, C.M. in 1867, and afterwards-held resident appointments in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Royal Hospital for Sick Children. He settled in Liverpool in 1868 and was elected assistant physician to the Liverpool Infirmary for Children. From 1876 to 1886 he was physician to the Northern Hospital and from 1886 to 1902 to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, being created consulting physician on his retirement. Caton’s principal services, however, were given to the cause of education in Liverpool. He was one of the group of public-spirited men responsible for the foundation of Liverpool University College in 1882. He himself was its first professor of physiology, till 1891, having previously taught comparative anatomy in the School of Medicine. He was also the first representative of Liverpool University, founded in 1903, on the General Medical Council— an office that he occupied until his death—and a pro-vice-chancellor of the University from 1921 to 1924. He was Harveian Orator at the Royal College of Physicians in 1904.
Caton was prominent, too, as a Liverpool city councillor. Keenly aware of the necessity for a high standard of public health, he was chairman of the Committee for the Housing of the Poor and of the Secondary Education Committee. He was lord mayor in 1907-08. During the 1914-1918 War, he held the appointment of honorary colonel, West Lancashire Division, R.A.M.C., and in 1920 he received the C.B.E. for his work as chairman of the local Nursing Service Committee of the British Red Cross Society. Caton wrote extensively on ancient Greek health temples and on strictly medical subjects—among them heart diseases. He was a man of broad interests and a shrewd judge of human nature. He married Annie, daughter of William S. Ivory of St. Roque, Edinburgh, and had two daughters. He died at Haslemere.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1926; B.M.J., 1926; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1926, 33]
(Volume IV, page 326)
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