T. Percy C. (Thomas Percy Claude) Kirkpatrick.

History of the medical teaching in Trinity college, Dublin and of the School of physic in Ireland online

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years, when he was retired on a pension of 150
per annum, which he enjoyed till his death, at
eighty-six years of age, on October 8, 1859. On

1 Knights, vol. ii, p. 372.


June 8, 1850, James Apjohn, Vice-President of
the Royal Irish Academy and Fellow of the
College of Physicians, was elected Professor of
Chemistry. In 1844 Apjohn had been appointed
Professor of Applied Chemistry, and in the follow-
ing year Professor of Mineralogy, chairs which
were connected with the Engineering rather than
with the Medical School. Apjohn had started
originally as a science lecturer in the Cork Institu-
tion, and afterwards was Lecturer in Chemistry
in the Park Street School. In 1828 he had been
elected Professor of Chemistry in the College of
Surgeons School, and in 1832 he was one of the
founders of the City of Dublin Hospital. On the
passing of the Medical Act of 1858, he was ap-
pointed the Representative of the University on
the General Medical Council, and he continued to
serve in that capacity for twenty years.

On the resignation of Apjohn, Dr. James Emer-
son Reynolds was appointed Professor. Reynolds
had been for some time Professor of Analytical
Chemistry in the Royal Dublin Society, and in
1873 had been appointed to the Chair of Chemistry
in the College of Surgeons School. In 1880 he
published a text-book of Experimental Chemistry,
which for many years satisfied the requirements
of the students of the School. It was during
Apjohn's tenure of the chair that the Professors of
Chemistry and Botany were relieved by the Act of
1867 of their duties in Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital,
and Reynolds never lectured there. On his resigna-
tion in 1903 Dr. Sydney Young was elected.


William Allman, who had been appointed Pro-
fessor of Botany in the same year as Barker
had been appointed to the Chair in Chemistry,
resigned in 1844, and was succeeded by William
James Allman. In 1854 Allman the younger was
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1 and in
1855 he was appointed Regius Professor of Natural
History in the University of Edinburgh, which
chair he held till 1870, when he retired and
devoted himself to original work on Zoology.
Allman's work on the Hydrozoa is ' the most
important systematic work dealing with the group
of Coelenterata that has ever been produced *. 2
He died at the age of eighty-six on November 24,
1898. When Allman was promoted to Edinburgh,
his place in the School of Physic was filled by the
appointment, in 1856, of William Henry Harvey,
M.D., who had been Colonial Treasurer 3 in Cape-
town from 1836 to 1842. He was chiefly noted
for his work on the Algae, and is memorable in
the School as the founder of the Herbarium. In
1866 he was succeeded by Alexander Dickson,
who in 1868 was appointed Professor of Botany
in Glasgow University, and in 1879 transferred to
Edinburgh, where he was also Regius Keeper of
the Botanic Garden till his death in 1887. Dickson
was succeeded in 1869 by Edward Perceval Wright,
who in 1858 had been elected Professor of Zoology.
Wright held the Chair of Botany till 1904, when
he was succeeded by Mr. Henry Horatio Dixon,
the present Professor. Though Wright resigned

1 D. N. B. Obit. Roy. Soc., 1901, p. 14. D. N. B.


the Professorship in 1904, he continued as keeper
of the Herbarium till his death on March 4, 1910.
Many graduates of the University remember the
kindness of ' Botany Wright ', a quality which
never seemed to desert him except during the
stress of the ' Previous Medical Examination in
Botany and Zoology '. His work is so well known
and has been so recently described that it is
unnecessary to mention it here.

Robert Harrison, who had succeeded Macartney
in the Chair of Anatomy and Chirurgery, had
previous to his election in Trinity College been
Professor of Anatomy and Surgery in the College
of Surgeons, and while there had published his
works on The Surgical Anatomy of the Arteries and
The Dublin Dissector, both of which had reached
a second edition in 1829. These works enjoyed
considerable reputation, and the latter continued
as the anatomical text-book of the Dublin School
for over fifty years. It was also issued as A Text-
book of Anatomy by Robert Watts, M.D., in New
York in 1848, and was the favourite students'
manual in the American schools for many years.
Professor Macalister, writing of this work, describes
it as ' that dreary book compiled from Cruveilhier
and Cloquet ', and states that the knowledge of
the author ' never rose even to the level of his
text-book '.* Others, however, speak of the book
and its writer more highly, and bear testimony to
his ability as a teacher. Harrison died suddenly
on April 23, 1858, having on the previous day

1 Macalister, Macartney, p. 256.


attended to his duties as usual, and on October 9
the Board elected Benjamin George M'Dowel as
his successor.

M'Dowel was perhaps one of the most brilliant
men who held the Chair of Anatomy in Trinity
College, but he has left little mark on the sands
of time to testify to his great abilities. At the
time of his appointment to the Professorship he
was Physician to the House of Industry Hospitals,
having been appointed there on April 13, 1846.
Sir Charles Cameron l tells us that Chief Justice
Doherty had interested himself to obtain an ap-
pointment for M'Dowel from the Lord Lieutenant,
and by mistake M'Dowel had been gazetted
to a lucrative ecclesiastical position. When the
mistake was discovered the Lord Lieutenant ap-
pointed him to the House of Industry Hospitals
instead. As a teacher M'Dowel showed extra-
ordinary ability, but his attendance to his College
duties was very irregular. He seems, indeed, to
have had an extraordinary facility for forgetting
his engagements, and many stories are still current
of how his coachman used to insist on his visiting
his various patients before he returned home each
day. In the School, too, he often completely
forgot that he was due to lecture, and many com-
plaints were made to the Board of the neglect of
his duties. His extraordinary personality, how-
ever, surmounted all difficulties, and no matter
how serious the complaint he was always able to
give an explanation which seemed to satisfy every

1 Cameron, Hist., p. 624.


one. With his duties as Professor in the School
and Physician to the Whitworth Hospital, together
with an exceptionally large private practice, we
cannot wonder that his attendance at Sir Patrick
Dun's was irregular, and it was this that first
caused serious trouble. Previous to the election
of M 'Dowel for the second septennial period, the
Board wished to make it a condition of the elec-
tion that the Professor would give up private
practice. This he would not do, but suggested
new regulations for the management of the dis-
secting room which the Board finally agreed to.
On July 16, 1867, the Board decided formally to
' admonish ' 1 the Professor for neglect, but in
spite of this, at the opening of the following winter
session the dissecting room was found to be wholly
unprovided with subjects. As usual, however, a
satisfactory explanation was forthcoming and was
accepted. On February i, 1868, the Board passed
the resolution already referred to with reference to
the Professors holding appointments in hospitals
other than Sir Patrick Dun's, and at the same
time decided that the University Anatomist was to
receive the fees for dissections, and lodge them
to the credit of the Bursar, who had undertaken
to distribute them. 2 This latter regulation had
been suggested by Haughton, but was strongly
objected to by the Professor and the University
Anatomist, who complained that they had not
been consulted before its adoption. Under the
circumstances the Board in the following month

1 Reg., vol. xii, p. 272. * Ibid., p. 294.


withdrew the regulation. On May 22, 1869, the
Board again requested the Professor to explain
his irregularity in attending to his duties in the
School, but contented themselves with saying
that ' they could not consider his explanation
satisfactory V In the following September the
Governors of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital wrote
to the Board complaining of the irregularity of
M'Dowel's attendance at the Hospital, and the
Board offered to nominate a surgeon to take his
place there if the Governors wished. M'Dowel
demanded an inquiry, but this demand the Board
ignored, and on October 30, 1869, Thomas Evelyn
Little was appointed Surgeon to the Hospital in
his place. 2 This matter created considerable stir
in Dublin at the time, and much sympathy was
felt with M'Dowel. The students held a meeting
at which they decided to present him with an
address. This, however, was contrary to the
Statutes of the College, and the Board would
not allow the matter to be proceeded with. On
October 24, 1872, the Board decided to appoint
a Professor of Comparative Anatomy, who should
lecture on that subject instead of the Professor of
Anatomy. This new Professor was to attend the
dissecting room daily, and besides his salary of
100 a year was to receive half the fees derived
from the dissecting room. Two days later Dr.
M'Dowel was re-elected Professor of Anatomy,
and Edward Hallaran Bennett University Ana-
tomist. The Board wrote to M'Dowel, pointing

1 Reg., vol. xii, p. 355. ' Ibid., p. 370.


out that it would be necessary for him, in com-
pliance with their resolution, to resign his post
as Physician to the Whitworth Hospital. M'Dowel
replied by resigning into the hands of the Board
the post of Clinical Surgeon to Dun's, but this the
Board would not accept, and refused to allow him
to be sworn into the Professorship till he resigned
his other post. M'Dowel appealed to the Visitors,
and the matter came to trial in February 1873,
before the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Thomas Napier,
and George Battersby, acting for the Archbishop
of Dublin. There were two counts in the trial :
first, as to the legality of the resolution of the
Board calling on M'Dowel to resign his post
as Physician to the Whitworth Hospital, and,
secondly, as to the power of the Board to divide,
as they had done, the fees of the dissecting room.
The Visitors decided against the Board on the
first count, and in their favour on the second.
The Board then resolved that during the present
term of office the Professor might continue as
Physician to the Whitworth Hospital, but he must
also act as Surgeon to Dun's. In 1879, when the
term of office was drawing to a close, M'Dowel wrote,
stating that if the conditions of appointment for
the future were to be the same as they had been
he would not seek re-election. The Board replied
that the conditions would be the same, and that
they accepted his intimation as a resignation of
the Professorship. On October 14, 1879, Dr.
Alexander Macalister was appointed Professor on
the condition that he should not take private



practice, that he should resign all the posts which
he held in the College with the exception of the
Professorship of Comparative Anatomy, and that
he would agree to devote his whole time to his
duties in Trinity College. On October 15, 1881,
Macalister was ' relieved from duty at Sir Patrick
Dun's ', and Charles Bent Ball was appointed as
his locum tenens. 1 Since then the Professor of
Anatomy has never been asked to undertake the
duties of a clinical lecturer. In 1883 Macalister
left Dublin on his appointment to the Professor-
ship of Anatomy in the University of Cambridge,
a position which he still adorns. On the resigna-
tion of Macalister, Daniel John Cunningham was
appointed his successor on September 29, i883, 2
and continued in office for twenty years, till
in 1903 he was appointed Professor of Anatomy in
the University of Edinburgh. The splendid work
which Cunningham did for the University and for
the School of Physic are well remembered, and the
unveiling of a bronze bust of him in the School
of Physic will form an important part of the
bicentenary celebrations. In 1903 Dr. Andrew
Francis Dixon, the present occupant of the chair,
succeeded Cunningham.

The office of University Anatomist, which had
been in abeyance since the appointment of
Cleghorn to the Professorship in 1761, was revived,
though not directly in name, by the appointment
on May 18, 1861, of Dr. John Kellock Barton as
University Lecturer in Practical Anatomy. 8 In

1 Reg., vol. xiv, p. 197. * Ibid., p. 300. * Ibid., vol. xi, p. 445.


1864 Barton resigned this appointment, and on
October 29 of that year Edward Hallaran Bennett
was, on the nomination of M'Dowel, appointed
his successor. In 1865 the office was definitely
referred to as that of the University Anatomist,
and in the School of Physic Act Amendment Act
of 1867 this title is used. Bennett continued
as University Anatomist until his appointment as
Professor of Surgery on November 8, 1873, when
he was succeeded by Thomas Evelyn Little. Little
held the post till his death in 1891, when Henry
St. John Brooks, Senior Demonstrator^ was ap-
pointed. Brooks resigned in 1895, and Mr. Charles
Bent Ball was appointed. With this latter
appointment all functions of the University Ana-
tomist, except the surgeoncy to Dun's Hospital,
disappeared, and since that time the Professor of
Anatomy has had the undivided control of the
Anatomical Department.

With regard to the Chair of Surgery, there is
little to add to what has already been told. On
March 3, 1849, the Board decided to establish
a Professorship of Surgery, and on October 13
Robert William Smith was elected. 1 Smith was
a prolific writer, and his works on Fractures in
the vicinity of Joints * and Neuroma 3 are still
consulted with profit. He died on October 28,
1873, and early in the following November,
Edward Hallaran Bennett, the University Ana-
tomist, was appointed as his successor. It is to

1 Statutes T. C. D., vol. ii, p. 231.

2 Dublin, 1847. * Ibid., 1849.


his exertions that the University owes the splendid
museum of surgical pathology in which is pre-
served one of the finest collections of fractures to
be seen in the kingdom. In 1904 failing health
compelled Bennett to ask for help in the delivery
of his lectures, and Mr. Edward H. Taylor was
appointed his deputy. On Bennett's resignation
in 1906 Taylor succeeded to the chair. Bennett
died on June 21, 1907.

On January 24, 1852, the Board decided to
create a new Professorship of Surgery, to be called
the University Professorship of Surgery. The first
Professor was James William Cusack. His duties
were mainly connected with the examinations in
Surgery, and he never seems to have been called
on to lecture. Cusack died on September 25,
1 86 1, and on October 26 following Robert Adams
was appointed. By a Queen's letter dated Sep-
tember 8, 1868, this Professorship was raised
to the same rank as the Regius Professorship of
Medicine, and Adams was nominated the first
Regius Professor. He died on January 16, 1875,
and in the following March William Colles, son
of the more distinguished Abraham Colles, was
elected. In 1891 William Porter succeeded Colles,
and in 1895 was in turn succeeded by the present
Regius Professor and University Anatomist, Sir
Charles Bent Ball.

After the opening of beds in Dun's Hospital
for the treatment of surgical patients, Haughton
suggested to the Board that they should appoint
a special teacher in Surgery at the Hospital. He


had at the same time succeeded in inducing
Richard George Butcher, then Surgeon to Mercer's
Hospital, to offer himself as a candidate for the
post. Butcher was at the time one of the leading
surgeons in Dublin, having been in 1866 elected
President of the Royal College of Surgeons. On
February 29, 1868, the Board appointed him
* teacher in operative and practical surgery at Sir
Patrick Dun's Hospital ' at a salary of 100 per
annum. 1 This position he continued to hold till
1884, but, though appointed by the Board, his
duties were confined to the teaching at Dun's
Hospital, and he did not lecture in the School
of Physic.

1 Reg., vol. xiv, p. 299.


DURING the past twenty years the course of the
School has been one of steady progress in all
departments. The buildings erected in the time
of Macartney have been almost entirely replaced,
there being only a small portion of his School
left, at present occupied by the Bone Room and
part of the Chemical Laboratories. As early as
February 20, 1864, the Board decided to procure
estimates for new buildings to provide additional
accommodation for teaching Anatomy, and in
June following 700 was voted for this purpose.
This sum was added to in October in order to
provide for a porch and additional lighting and

On April 7, 1866, the College Architect, Mr.
M'Curdy, was directed to prepare plans and esti-
mates for new buildings in connexion with the
School of Chemistry. In December 1873, the
Board approved the plans for the new Anatomical
Museum, 1 which was to be erected between the
Park and the Medical School buildings, and on
January 16, 1874, a sum of 500 was voted to
buy the osteological collection of Robert Smith,
late Professor of Surgery, for this museum. 2 On

1 Reg., vol. xiii, p. 153. * Ibid., p. 160.


March 28, 1874, an estimate of 8,300 was accepted
from Messrs. W. & A. Roberts for this building.
These contractors, however, afterwards declined
to undertake the contract, and in the following
May it was given to Thomas Pemberton, of East
Hanover Street, 1 the sum being fixed at 8,276,
the contractor agreeing to a fine of 25 a week if
the building were not finished within two years.
This contract was subsequently amended, the sum
being fixed at 8,386, and on October 12, 1876, it
was reported that the museum was ' completed
and ready for occupation ', the builders being
stated to be Messrs. J. & W. Beckett. 2 This hand-
some building, looking west, with a frontage of
150 feet, and a depth of 42 feet, is one of the
most ornamental of the School buildings. In it
are lodged the Zoological collections, and it also
contains rooms for the Professor of Comparative
Anatomy and Zoology. At the northern end of
the building is the Anthropometric Laboratory,
fitted up some years later by means of a grant
from the Royal Irish Academy. Running east-
ward, at a right angle to the northern extremity
of the museum, is the laboratory for Histology,
built in the year 1880. Originally this building
was separated from the museum, but a few years
ago the two were joined by a new building, and
an entrance to the lecture-room opened through
the door at the north end of the museum.

In 1885 the Board embarked on a most exten-
sive scheme for increasing the accommodation in

1 Reg., vol. xiii, p. 178. * Ibid., p. 324.


the Medical School, and on igth September of
that year accepted the estimate of George Moyers
for new buildings at the cost of 9,050.* The
plans for these buildings were made by Mr.
M 'Curdy, the College Architect, but on his death
in the following year the supervision of the work
was entrusted to Mr. Thomas Drew. The plans
and estimates were subsequently modified in
various ways, chiefly with a view to enlarging
and improving the dissecting-room. The old wall,
which had shut off the Medical School from the
College Park since the time of Macartney, was
removed by an order of the Board on October 29,
1887, an d on November I, Professor Haughton
delivered in the Chemical Theatre an address in
honour of the formal opening of the new build-
ings. Beside an almost complete renovation of the
apartments for Anatomy and Chemistry, the new
buildings contained on the ground floor rooms for
the Professors and Registrar, as well as two rooms
for the students. The second floor was occupied
by two new lecture theatres, and a laboratory
and museum for the Professor of Materia Medica.
On the top story were placed the rooms of the
Professor of Surgery, as well as the museum of
Surgical Pathology.

In 1895 the School buildings were again added
to, the Board, on November 23, accepting an
estimate for building a Pathological laboratory at
the cost of 9,000. The Medical School Committee
had suggested that the old Physiology laboratory

1 Reg., vol. xv, p. 8.


should be devoted to Pathology and a new labora-
tory built for Physiology, but this suggestion was
not adopted.

In 1903 an appeal was issued by the heads of
the University asking for subscriptions to erect
and to equip Science laboratories in Trinity
College. A very liberal response was made, and
Lord Iveagh, a graduate of the University, and
now Chancellor, undertook to provide funds to
build and to furnish all or any of those labora-
tories for the endowment of which the friends of
the College subscribed the necessary funds. As
a result of this generous offer the new Physics
laboratory was erected in 1905, at a cost of 16,500,
and two years later the new Botanical laboratory
was completed at a cost of 8,000. These two
laboratories form a notable addition to the Medical
School buildings, and afford the accommodation
so much needed for the development of research
work in these subjects. Beside this valuable asset
which the College obtained in these new buildings
a sum of nearly 19,000 was subscribed as an
endowment fund, the interest on which is to be
spent annually on these departments. 1

While the housing of the School was being thus
cared for, close attention was also paid to what
was more important, the development of its teach-
ing functions. In 1895 Mr. Alexander Charles
O 'Sullivan, one of the Fellows of Trinity College,
was appointed Lecturer in Pathology, and the
department over which he presides is now one of

1 B. M. Journ., October 26, 1907.


the most important in the School. The establish-
ment of a School of Tropical Medicine in con-
nexion with this department is at present under
consideration, and it is hoped that in the near
future facilities will be afforded in the School for
the study of this important branch of medicine.

In June 1903, the Senate of the University
decided by a large majority to admit women to
Trinity College, and in the winter session, 1904-5,
the first woman student entered for the medical
classes in the School of Physic. The Board pro-
vided a special dissecting-room for women, but
they were admitted to the same lectures with the
men students. In spite of many prophecies to
the contrary the plan has worked well, and though
the women students are not yet numerous, the
numbers are increasing year by year, and are
likely to increase more quickly in the future.

As early as 1888 the School authorities began to
recognize the claims of dental students, but for
many years there were no applicants for a licence
in dentistry from the University. In 1904 the
Board decided to establish degrees in this subject
open to those students who had graduated in Arts.
In 1910 a complete dental school was established,
and special lecturers have been appointed by
the Board, to teach those subjects not already
included in the medical curriculum.

One of the most important features of the
School at the present day is the students' society,
the Dublin University Biological Association. We
have seen that as early as May 2, 1801, the Board


decided, ' that a medical society under the control
of the Board may be permitted to meet in the
College.' * I have not been able to trace any
records of the work or constitution of this society,
and do not know how long it continued in exist-
ence. Shortly after Macartney was appointed
Professor of Anatomy the Board again extended
privileges to a medical society, and on November 26,
1814, the following minute was made : ' A Society
for Medical Students (under the sanction of the
Professor) having applied for permission to hold
their meetings in the Lecture Room in No. 22.
The Terms were granted to them during pleasure.' 2
On January 18, 1822, this permission was with-
drawn, though in the minutes no reason is assigned
for the change. 3 In spite of this decision of the
Board the society seems to have lived some years
longer. Dr. Macalister 4 tells us that it continued
in active existence for fourteen years, and only
gradually died out during the troubles which came
on Macartney during the later years of his pro-

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Online LibraryT. Percy C. (Thomas Percy Claude) KirkpatrickHistory of the medical teaching in Trinity college, Dublin and of the School of physic in Ireland → online text (page 21 of 24)