Bridge, Thomas William (DNB12)

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BRIDGE, THOMAS WILLIAM (1848–1909), zoologist, born at Birmingham on 5 Nov. 1848, was eldest son of Thomas Bridge, a boot and shoe maker, and Lucy, daughter of Thomas Crosbee, both of Birmingham. After attending a private school he studied at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, and in 1870 went to Cambridge as private assistant to John Willis Clark [q. v. Suppl. II], then superintendent of the University Museum of Zoology. Two years later he entered Trinity College as a foundation scholar, and whilst an undergraduate was appointed university demonstrator in comparative anatomy. Coming out first in the second class of the natural science tripos of 1875, he graduated B.A. in 1876 and M.A. in 1880. In 1879 Bridge was elected professor of zoology at the Dublin Royal College of Science, but after a year, on the institution of Mason College, Birmingham, he returned to his native place as professsor of biology. Subsequently the chair was divided into a botanical and a zoological professorship, and Bridge held the latter appointment to the time of his death.

Both as teacher and as organiser, Bridge contributed much to the success of the Mason College and of the new Birmingham University, being chairman of the academic board in the former and devoting himself unstintingly to the welfare of his college and department.

As an investigator Bridge was distinguished for his researches into the anatomy of fish, and in particular for his work upon the swim or air-bladder. His most important contribution upon this subject was published in the 'Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society' in 1893; whilst his article on 'Fishes' in the 'Cambridge Natural History' (vol. vii. 1904) is a good example of his careful, lucid, and accurate method. He was made Sc.D. at Cambridge in 1896 and was elected F.R.S. in 1903. He died at Birmingham, unmarried, on 29 June 1909.

[Proc. Roy. Soc. lxxxii. B., 1910; Birmingham Daily Post, 1 July 1909.]

F. W. G.