Apprentice years 1861–2

Ann Scott, Mervyn Eadie and Andrew Lees

in William Richard Gowers 1845-1915

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199692316
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191753527 | DOI:
Apprentice years 1861–2

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William began his apprenticeship in October 1861, three years after the belated enactment of the 1858 Medical Act. The new Act imposed some order on the previously chaotic structure of the medical profession. It established a General Council of Medical Education and Registration to control the training standards and licensing of members of the profession. Medical training had varied widely before 1858, ranging from university-based education to a ‘broom-and-apron’ apprenticeship in an apothecary’s shop. By the time William became an apprentice, the apprenticeship system was beginning to die out. He had set his sights on the University of London, so the first academic hurdle he faced was to qualify for a place by passing its matriculation examination.

Gowers became an ‘inside’ (resident) apprentice to Dr Simpson at 70 Church Street (later named Derwent House), the house that served both as the doctor’s home and surgery, combining his duties as an apprentice with his academic studies.

Chapter.  11356 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; History of Medicine

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