Lives of the fellows

Thomas King Chambers

b.16 October 1817 d.15 August 1889
BM Oxon(1842) DM FRCP(1848)

Thomas Chambers was the fifth son of Robert Joseph Chambers, a Metropolitan stipendiary magistrate, and a cousin of F. W. Chambers, F.R.C.P, who was Physician-in-Ordinary to William IV and Queen Adelaide. He was educated at Rugby under Dr. Arnold, at Shrewsbury, and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated with honours in classics. He studied medicine at St. George’s Hospital and took the degree of B.M. at Oxford in 1842. He became one of the first physicians to St. Mary’s Hospital and, later, consulting physician to the Lock Hospital. At the age of forty-two he was selected to accompany the Prince of Wales on a journey through Italy and Spain, and at that time seemed destined for a large and active practice. But owing to the development of a popliteal aneurysm one of his legs had to be amputated, and, although he continued to see patients and attend hospitals till 1878, an operation for a similar condition on the other leg became necessary. Chambers was a Censor at the Royal College of Physicians and delivered the Goulstonian Lectures (1850), the Lumleian Lectures (1863) and the Harveian Oration (1871). He retired to Sunningdale but continued to visit London to discharge his duties as physician to an insurance company and, after 1881, as Oxford University’s representative on the General Medical Council. He also interested himself in medical education and did much to improve the status of medicine at his old University and the professional value of its medical degrees. His chief contributions to medical literature were on diet and digestion. He was one of the earliest advocates of medicine as a career for women and lectured for Frederick Denison Maurice at the Working Men’s College. His chief hobby was painting, and he was a good draughtsman and water-colourist as well as an accomplished carver in wood. He was survived by his wife and two daughters, one of whom was the wife of the well-known Academician Walter Ouless.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1889; B.M.J., 1889; Al.Oxon., i, 236]

(Volume IV, page 48)

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