Eyre, James (1792-1857) (DNB00)

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EYRE, Sir JAMES, M.D. (1792–1857), physician, was born in 1792, and in October 1811 commenced his medical education at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where he was a pupil of Abernethy. In 1813 seventy-five students subscribed to give the great silver cup with cover to Abernethy which is now used as a loving-cup at the annual dinner of the teachers of the medical school of St. Bartholomew's, and Eyre was chosen to present the piece of plate. In 1814 he became a member of the College of Surgeons, and began practice in Hereford, where he attained some local celebrity; in 1830 was elected mayor, and was knighted in that year on the accession of William IV. Drinkwater, mayor of Liverpool, was the only other mayor knighted, and a remark of Abernethy to a patient on these honours preserves the correct pronunciation of Eyre's name. ‘Go away,’ said Abernethy, ‘and have always in your thoughts the names of the mayors who have just been knighted, Eyre and Drinkwater, and you will soon recover your wind, and your shape too, I promise you.’ Soon after his being knighted, Eyre decided to become a physician, studied in Paris for a year, graduated at Edinburgh in 1834, became a member of the College of Physicians of London in 1836, and set up in practice in Lower Brook Street, London. He published in 1845 ‘Practical Remarks on some Exhausting Diseases, particularly those incident to Women;’ and in 1852 ‘The Stomach and its Difficulties.’ Both books advocate the use of oxide of silver as a remedy for several gastric disorders. They are addressed rather to patients than to physicians, and contain many trivial anecdotes, and no scientific observations. After practising with no great success for several years, Eyre retired to Brompton, and died suddenly while visiting a friend at Clapham on 19 June 1857.

[Eyre's Works; London and Provincial Medical Directory, 1847. Lancet, June 1857, gives an erroneous account of his knighthood.]

N. M.