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J R Soc Med. 2004 August; 97(8): 412.
PMCID: PMC1079578

Addison and Bright at the St Alban's Club

Dr Pearce's interesting survey of Thomas Addison's life (June 2004 JRSM1) draws attention to the subject's melancholic nature. I can add a footnote on this subject.

I have recently completed the history of the St Alban's Medical Club which, with its brother club the Sydenham, has continuous records starting in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Thomas Addison was elected to the St Alban's Club in 1830 but had resigned less than three years later. His letter of resignation survives in the club's archives at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. At the time the leading figures in the club were Charles Locock (who later became Queen Victoria's accoucheur) and his boyhood friend Thomas Waterfield. Several of the surgeons and the surgeon-apothecaries in the Club had served with Wellington in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. They were a group of extroverts whose bets and wagers were settled in claret and champagne. Clearly Addison, not by nature clubbable, felt that this was not his scene. His friend and colleague Richard Bright, elected a little later and after Addison's resignation, was happier on such hearty occasions, but the treasurer's book often records that 'Dr Bright came after dinner'. Neither of these famous men, melancholic or not, played a leading part in the club's jolly evening meetings.


1. Pearce JMS. Thomas Addison (1793–1860). J R Soc Med 2004;97: 297-300 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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