Davies, Herbert (DNB00)

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DAVIES, HERBERT, M.D. (1818–1885), physician, son of Dr. Thomas Davies [q. v.], was born in London 30 Sept. 1818. After education at North End House School, Hampstead, he obtained a scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1838, but migrated to Queens', and graduated B.A. as thirty-first wrangler in 1842. In 1843 he took the degree of M.B., was elected a fellow of Queens' College in 1844, and graduated M.D. in 1848, his thesis being ‘On the Origin of Gout.’ During these years he studied medicine at Paris and Vienna as well as in London, and was on 5 Aug. 1845 elected assistant-physician to the London Hospital. In 1850 he was elected a fellow of the College of Physicians, and in 1854 physician to the London Hospital, an office which he held for twenty years. He lectured in the medical school of that hospital first on materia medica, and afterwards on medicine, and he discharged at Cambridge the duties of examiner for medical degrees and of assessor to the regius professor of physic. He married Miss Wyatt on 24 Aug. 1850. They had seven children, and his second son graduated in medicine at Cambridge. Davies lived in Finsbury Square, London, was physician to the Bank of England, and had a considerable practice in the city. He had the merit of continuing to study his profession throughout life, while his kindly disposition and the entire absence of self-seeking which was observable in his conduct caused him to be liked as well as respected by his medical contemporaries. He contributed to the advance of medical anatomy by his observations on the relative magnitude of the areas of the four orifices of the heart, and may also claim to have improved medical treatment by his advocacy of the use of blisters to the swollen joints in acute rheumatism, a treatment in part superseded by the discovery of salicylate of soda, but still used with advantage in certain cases.

Besides several papers in the ‘London Hospital Reports’ and in the ‘Transactions of the Pathological Society,’ he published a useful manual entitled ‘Lectures on the Physical Diagnosis of the Diseases of the Lungs and Heart,’ London, 1851, which reached a second edition in 1854, and was translated into German and Dutch; and ‘On the Treatment of Rheumatic Fever in its Acute Stage, exclusively by free Blistering,’ London, 1864. His papers on the form and areas of the heart's orifices are in the ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society,’ 1870 and 1872.

He died at Hampstead 4 Jan. 1885, and is buried in the cemetery there.

[Information from family; personal knowledge; Luard's Graduati Cantab.]

N. M.