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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury and the Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury People

What is the Bloomsbury Project?

The Leverhulme-funded UCL Bloomsbury Project was established to investigate 19th-century Bloomsbury’s development from swampy rubbish-dump to centre of intellectual life

Led by Professor Rosemary Ashton, with Dr Deborah Colville as Researcher, the Project has traced the origins, Bloomsbury locations, and reforming significance of hundreds of progressive and innovative institutions

Many of the extensive archival resources relating to these institutions have also been identified and examined by the Project, and Bloomsbury’s developing streets and squares have been mapped and described

This website is a gateway to the information gathered and edited by Project members during the Project’s lifetime, 1 October 2007–30 April 2011, with the co-operation of Bloomsbury’s institutions, societies, and local residents

Granville Sharp Pattison (1791–1851)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was one of many Scots involved with the University of London (later University College London); born in Glasgow, he studied medicine at the University there, though he left in 1812 without taking a degree

When he was appointed, jointly with Charles Bell, to the Chairs of Anatomy, Surgery, and Physiology at the new University of London (later University College London) in 1828, he had a chequered career behind him

This included alleged body-snatching in Glasgow to perform illegal dissections, an accusation of adultery with the wife of a Professor at Anderson’s Institution, Glasgow, where Pattison taught until forced by the scandal to resign in 1819, and professional rivalries leading to duels in the University of Philadelphia, where he taught until 1826

A difficult colleague, Pattison soon got into arguments over who lectured on what at the University of London, making enemies of his fellow Scots and colleagues in the medical school, Bell and Anthony Todd Thomson, and falling foul of the students for his allegedly poor and irregular classes (College Correspondence Pattison case, UCL Special Collections)

Pattison was removed from his chair in the summer of 1831 after two years of wrangling and unwelcome publicity for the University over the students’ complaints and the University’s handling of them

Several non-medical Professors protested at his treatment, saying that the case of incompetence had not been proved and that a bad precedent was being set of allowing students to decide on the fate of Professors (College Correspondence Pattison case, UCL Special Collections)

Three Professors—De Morgan, Long, and Rosen—resigned in the summer of 1831 in protest at Pattison’s dismissal

The University’s Council voted a sum of £200 to Pattison in compensation and made a public statement that his professional skill and personal character were in no way impeached by the decision to remove him (Council Minutes, vol. II, 10 December 1831, UCL Records Office)

Pattison returned to Philadelphia in 1832 to teach anatomy, moving in 1841 to New York, where he died in 1851 without having published any noteworthy original medical work (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

His main claim to be remembered is thus as the person at the heart of an episode which came close to destabilising the University of London in the third year of its existence

For more general biographical information about Granville Sharp Pattison, see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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