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Royal College of Physicians

ALLCHIN, Sir William Henry (1846-1912)


Reference code(s): GB 0113 MS-ALLCW

Held at: Royal College of Physicians

Title: ALLCHIN, Sir William Henry (1846-1912)

Date(s): 1844-1903

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 3 volumes; 7 boxes

Name of creator(s): Allchin | Sir | William Henry | 1846-1912 | Knight | physician


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Henry Allchin was born in Paris, on 16 October 1846, the eldest son of a Bayswater doctor. After a private education Allchin studied medicine at University College, London. He qualified in 1869 and served as medical officer of the Great Eastern. In 1871 he graduated MB, with the University Scholarship.

He joined in succession the staff of the Western Dispensary, the St Marylebone Dispensary, and the Victoria Hospital for Children. Simultaneously he lectured on comparative anatomy at University College. In 1872 he was appointed registrar and demonstrator of practical physiology at the Westminster Hospital. He was elected assistant physician there in 1873, and physician in 1877. He lectured on pathology, 1873-78, physiology, 1878-82, and medicine, 1882-92. He also held the office of Dean from 1878-83, and 1890-93. His work at the Hospital led to the publication of his papers on `Functional Disease' and `Vital Diagnosis', in the Westminster Hospital Reports (vol. II, 1886, pp.35-52 & vol. IV, 1888, pp.105-19, respectively).

It is said that he was `highly successful both as an administrator and as a clinical teacher of the deductive type' (Munk's Roll, vol. IV, p.254). Allchin made literary contributions to Sir Richard Quain's A Dictionary of Medicine (1882-94) and Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt's A System of Medicine by Many Authors (1896-99).

Allchin was closely connected with the Royal College of Physicians throughout his professional career, He was appointed to the new office of Assistant Registrar in 1883, but felt obliged to resign after two years due to his opposition to the College's policy of applying to the Crown for permission to grant medical degrees. He delivered the Bradshaw Lecture in 1891, the Harveian Oration in 1903, and the Lumleian Lectures in 1905. Allchin was much interested in the move to reconstitute London University. He was secretary of the Royal College of Physicians' University Committee, between 1889 and 1898, and one of its representatives to the new Senate, later compiling An Account of the Reconstruction of the University of London (3 vols.) (London, 1905-12). He was also a member of the Medical Consultative Board to the Admiralty, and an examiner for the Army and Navy Medical Departments and the Indian Medical Service.

He was the editor of A Manual of Medicine (London, 1900-3), which became well known. Allchin retired from the staff of the Westminster Hospital in 1905. In 1907 he received his knighthood, and three years later was appointed physician extraordinary to George V.

Allchin married Margaret Holland in 1880. He died at his country home in East Malling, Kent, on 8 February 1912.

The Morbid Anatomy of Some of the Most Important Parts of the Human Body; Prefixed Preliminary Observations on Diseased Structures by J. Wardrop, Matthew Baillie (1761-1823), Sir William Henry Allchin, George I. Fincham, & James Wardrop (London, 1833)
Medicine in its Economic Relations (London, 1876?)
`Functional Disease', Westminster Hospital Reports, vol. II, 1886, pp.35-52
`Vital Diagnosis', Westminster Hospital Reports, vol. IV, 1888, pp.105-19
Scheme for Case Reporting (London, 1887)
The Nature and Causes of Duodenal Indigestion (London, 1892)
A Manual of Medicine, Sir William Henry Allchin (ed.) (London, 1900-3)
Structure and Function (London, 1903)
An Account of the Reconstruction of the University of London (3 vols.) (London, 1905-12)


Scope and content/abstract:

Allchin's papers for his biography of Sir Andrew Clark (1826-1893), including draft typescript with annotations, n.d., mid-late 19th century, and materials for the biography, including rough draft of the biography in Allchin's handwriting, Clark's own papers such as lecture notes, printed copies of addresses, and his letter book, correspondence between Clark and Allchin, and between Allchin and others about Clark, newspaper cuttings, photographs, and obituaries, 1844-1903; Allchin's lecture notes, 1880s-1890s.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

All requests should be referred to the Archivist

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allchin's lecture notes were donated by Dr F.M. Allchin, 27 March 1963; The provenance of the rest of the collection is unknown


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

There are a number of items in the College's own records relating to Allchin, including correspondence with him about the Bradshaw Lecture of 1883 (MS1014/1), the Harvey Memorial Ceremony, 1883 (MS1024/230), the Moxon Medal, 1887 (MS1002/1), the Pitman Portrait Fund and the presentation of the portrait, 1886 (MS2004/188), and the Baly Medal, 1911 (MS1009/2). There is also material about his proposed bye-law relating to the resignation of fellows and members of the College, 1889 (MS2012/28), and entries by him in the College's London University Committee minutes, regarding the Committee on the Report of the Royal Commission on a University of London, 1889-91 (MS2115/4, 13). His signature is also to be found on the Opinion of Westminster Hospital Medical School on the proposed five year curriculum, 1891 (MS2024/9) and the Annual Report of the Curators of the Museum, 1911 (MS2001/62);

Allchin's correspondence and papers relating to the University of London, c.1900, are held at the University of London. See the National Register of Archives for details.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Source: The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 1826-1925, compiled by G.H. Brown (London, 1955) [Munk's Roll, vol. IV, pp.253-54]; Historical Manuscripts Commission On-Line National Register of Archives.
Compiled by Katharine Williams

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions: Compiled March 2003; Modified September 2003

Biographies | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Lectures (teaching method) | Teaching methods
Physicians | Medical personnel | Medical profession | Medical sciences
Writing | Communication skills | Communication process

Personal names
Allchin | Sir | William Henry | 1846-1911 | Knight | physician
Clark | Sir | Andrew | 1826-1893 | Knight | physician

Corporate names