Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 8:27 pm by M.   No comments
Leeds Today publishes today this article about Thomas Clifford Allbutt:

THE LIFE of a pioneering Yorkshire doctor is to be commemorated at his former home at Leeds University. Sir Clifford Allbutt was Physician at Leeds General Infirmary from 1864-84, and later became Regius Professor of Physic at Cambridge. He is best remembered for inventing the short-stemmed clinical thermometer and revising The System of Medicine, the doctors' 'bible'.

"It's fascinating to think for over 150 years patients all over the world had their temperatures taken with the short-stemmed thermometer that was invented by a Leeds man, Sir Clifford Allbutt."
Thomas Clifford Allbutt was born on July 20, 1836 in Dewsbury. He was the only son and eldest child of Rev Thomas Allbutt, Vicar of Dewsbury. His maiden aunts were on friendly terms with Charlotte Brontë.

The maiden aunts that the journalist is referring to are the Misses Wooler of Roe Head.
Quoting Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston, ['Charlotte, Emily and Miss Wooler'] (1831-1838), in Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston, 'Charlotte, Emily, and Miss Wooler', in The Right Honourable Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt K.C.B./A Memoir (1929) (reproduced in The Brontës. Interviews and recollections, Edited by Harold Orel):

Sir Clifford's mother was Marianne, daughter of John Wooler of Dewsbury, whose elder daughters - the Misses Wooler of Roehead -were on very friendly terms with Charlotte Brontë. The Miss Margaret Wooler so often mentioned in connection with the Brontës in the writings of Mrs. Gaskell, T. Wemyss Reid and F.A. Leyland died in 1885 at the age of ninety-three, with her mental faculties unimpaired; she kept a school at Roehead, between Leeds and Huddersfield, to witch the three Brontës sisters went, and to which , when the school was transferred in 1836 to Heald's House at the top of the Dewsbury Moor, Charlotte returned as a mistress. Allbutt knew Charlotte (1816-55), and as a small boy had seen Emily Brontë; he inherited Charlotte Brontë's letters to Miss Wooler, and presented them and an inscribed first edition of Villette (1953) to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. (...)

When in the spring of 1903 the late Sir Edmund Gosse gave an address on 'The Challenge of the Brontës' at the annual meeting of the Brontë Society, Sir Clifford was much interested, and from then onwards collected material to enable a correct presentation of the real position of the Brontës to be given to the world.
The picture is courtesy of
The Clendening Library Portrait Collection

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