UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Sir Thomas Barlow

Publications by Sir Thomas Barlow (1845-1945)


Born at Edgworth in Lancashire. At Owens College, Manchester, he won many prizes in scientific subjects and graduated as B.Sc. (Lond.) in 1867. He went on to study medicine at University College London, where he qualified in 1871 and was one of Jenner's assistants. In 1874 he obtained a registrarship at the Hospital for Sick Children; he became assistant physician in the following year, physician in 1885 and consulting physician in 1899. The first teaching hospital to appoint him assistant physician was Charing Cross in 1876. He relinquished this post after two years, however, to take a similar one at the London Hospital. He again changed his allegiance in 1880 by accepting an invitation to return to University College Hospital as assistant physician. He remained on its active staff until retiring as consulting physician in 1910. From 1884 to 1888 he was also on the staff of the London Fever Hospital. He occupied the Holme chair of clinical medicine at University College from 1895 to 1907. Barlow's fame was founded on his contributions to medical research. Current knowledge of meningitis, rickets, rheumatism in children and Raynaud's disease benefited in turn from his observations, but his greatest achievement was to show, in 1883, that infantile scurvy was identical with adult scurvy, and that rickets was not an essential part of the disease, which, by 1894, when he gave the Bradshaw Lecture on the same subject, had come to be known as "Barlow's disease". Barlow, a Censor of the Royal College of Physicians, was elected its President in the years 1910 to 1914 and gave the Harveian Oration in 1916. His term as President witnessed the controversy over the National Insurance Act - of which he successfully concealed his own opinion - and the International Medical Congress of 1913, over which he presided. Barlow was Physician to the Royal Household from 1896 to 1910 and Physician-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, whom he attended in her final illness, to Edward VII, and to George V.

His success as a physician was due both to his vast knowledge of clinical medicine and to the kindliness of heart and genuine sympathy which he showed towards his patients. Barlow, who spent part of his retirement near Wendover, had long been Senior Fellow on the College List when he died in his hundredth year.

List of references

Note: (PP refers to Papers Published by Medical & Surgical Staff of the Hospital)

(1) Case of phlegmonous syphilides. The Lancet 1876; 108 (2775): 637

(2) Case of acute tuberculosis in a child aged four months. BMJ 1876; 2 (826): 552

(3) Alopecia in congenital syphilis. The Lancet 1877; 110 (2817): 276-277

(4) On a case of double hemiplegia, with cerebral symmetrical lesions. BMJ 1877; 2 (865): 103-104

(5) [and Parker, RW] Notes on pleuritic effusion in childhood. BMJ 1877; 2 (883): 758-760

(6) Note on frequency of pleural effusion in infancy. The Lancet 1878; 112 (2886): 877

(7) Enlargement of bronchial glands with relation to whooping-cough. BMJ 1879; 2 (988): 889

(8) The Manchester Children's Hospital and Dr Humphreys. BMJ 1880; 1 (996): 186.

(9) The Manchester Children's Hospital and Dr Humphreys. BMJ 1880; 1 (998): 265.

(10) Hysterical analgesia in children. BMJ 1881; 2 (1092): 892-893

(11) Note on choroidal and meningeal tubercle. The Lancet 1883; 122 (3143): 924

(12) On cases described as "acute rickets" which are probably a combination of scurvy and rickets, the scurvy being an essential, and the rickets a variable element. Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 1883; 66: 159-219. This classic paper was also reprinted, but without the coloured lithographs and detailed list of cases included in the original, in Archives of Diseases in Childhood 1935; 10: 223-225

(13) Case of purpura occurring in the course of typhoid fever. The Lancet 1884; 123 (3165): 745-747

(14) Case of maniacal delirium treated by the cold douche. The Lancet 1884; 123 (3149): 9-10

(15) On a case of early disseminated myelitis occurring in the exanthem stage of measles and fatal on the eleventh day of that disease: report on the microscopal examination of the spinal cord. Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 1887; 70: 77-91

(16) Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street: intubation of the larynx in a case of diphtheria, remarks. The Lancet 1890; 136 (3499): 618

(17) Rachitis. In Keating, JM (ed.) Cyclopaedia of the Diseases of Children: Medical and Surgical. Vol. II. Edinburgh: Pentland, 1890. pp.224-264. 

(18) Scurvy. In Keating, JM (ed.) Cyclopaedia of the Diseases of Children: Medical and Surgical. Vol. II. Edinburgh: Pentland, 1890. pp.265-278. [Librarian's Office]

(19) [and Horsley, V.] The memorial to the late Professor John Marshall. The Lancet 1891; 138 (3563): 1359-1360 and in BMJ 1893; 2 (1709): 762

(20) [and Horsley, V.] The late Mr John Marshall, FRS. The Lancet 1891; 137 (3523): 572 and in BMJ 1891; 1 (1575): 553

(21) [and Horsley, V.] Bust of the late Professor John Marshall. The Lancet 1893; 142 (3656): 777

(22) The Bradshaw Lecture on infantile scurvy and its relation to rickets: delivered before the Royal College of Physicians of London. BMJ 1894; 2 (1767): 1029-1034

(23) Address in medicine: The study of the natural history of disease, the basis of all advance in its treatment. BMJ 1902; 2 (2170): 313-321

(24) An Address on the hospital ideal and on the concentration of early medical studies in London: Delivered to the students of St Thomas's Hospital Medical School on the occasion of the distribution of prizes on June 24 1904. BMJ 1904; 2 (2270): 1-4

(25) On some of the nervous complications of the specific fevers: Presidential Address delivered before the Neurological Society of the United Kingdom on November 1 1906. Brain 1906; 29 (3): 303-331

(26) [and Ballence, C.] Rupture of the upper cord of the brachial plexus at birth. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 1908; (1) Clin. Section: 215-220

(27) The British Medical Benevolent Fund and Guild. BMJ 1910; 1 (2557): 49

(28) [with Church, WS] Royal College of Physicians of London: The action of the College in relation to the National Insurance Bill. The Lancet 1911; 177 (4580): 1617

(29) International Hygiene Exhibition, Dresden, 1911. BMJ 1911; 1 (2613): 225-226

(30) [et al] 22nd Annual Report of the Almoners for the year ending December 31 1910. The Lancet 1911; 177 (4565): 528-529

(31) [and Ilkeston, Armit HW] International Hygiene Exhibition at Dresden: an appeal. The Lancet 1911; 177 (4560): 189

(32) Eleven letters of William Harvey to Lord Fielding, June 9-Nov. 15, 1636. Purchased from the Earl of Denbigh and presented to the Royal College of Physicians by Thomas Barlow, President, October 18, 1912. [London: Privately Printed, 1912?] [Special Collections]

(33) President's Address: delivered at the opening of the 17th International Medical Congress. BMJ 1913; 2 (2745): 285-286

(34) The report of the Royal Commission on veneral diseases. BMJ 1916; 2 (2907): 408

(35) The Harveian Oration delivered before the Royal College of Physicians of London on St Luke's Day, 1916. BMJ 1916; 2 (2913): 577-583

(36) William Allen Sturge BMJ 1919; 1 (3041): 468-469

(37) Introduction. Archives of Disease in Childhood 1926; 1 (1): i - vi. [Collected Papers of F J Poynton]

(38) Past and present: an address to the students of University College Hospital on October 1st. The Lancet 1928; 212 (5484): 718-720

(39) The maintenance of orphans of medical men during the holidays. The Lancet 1928; 212 (5474): 200

(40) Holidays for orphans of medical men. BMJ 1928; 2 (3525): 176

(41) [and Ballence, C] The war emergency fund. The Lancet 1928; 211 (5468): 1249 and also BMJ 1928; 1 (3519): 1045-1046

(42) [et al] Memorial to Dr John Thomson. The Lancet 1928; 211 (5448): 209

(43) [et al] John Thomson. BMJ 1928; 1 (3499): 156

(44) [et al] A Hughlings Jackson memorial. The Lancet 1931; 217 (5621): 1159

(45) Barlow, A. Sir Thomas Barlow 1845-1945. Great Ormond Street Journal 1955; (10): 59-65

(46) Veeder, Borden Smith. Pediatric profiles. St Louis: C V Mosby, 1955. 

(47) Sir Thomas Barlow, Bt., K.C.V.O., M.D., F.R.C.P., F.R.S., 1845-1945 : three selected lectures and a biographical sketch [by Andrew Barlow]. London: Dawsons, 1965.


BMJ 1945

The Lancet 1945

Munks Roll

There is a useful Handlist of the writings of Sir Thomas Barlow compiled by Alfred Franklin in ADC 1945; 20: 50-51.