William Richard Gowers 1845-1915: Exploring the Victorian Brain

ISBN : 9780199692316

Ann Scott; Mervyn J. Eadie; Andrew J. Lees
328 Pages
176 x 236 mm
Pub date
Aug 2012
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Sir William Richard Gowers was one of the pre-eminent clinical neurologists of the nineteenth century. He is best remembered for his discovery of the eponymous 'Gowers' sign', for his invention of the patella hammer, and for authoring the classic two-volume neurology textbook Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System. To date Dr Gowers has been the subject of only one published biography, while some aspects of Gowers' work have been chronicled in historical works regarding the history of neurology. This book goes into greater detail than ever, presenting the life story behind a great Victorian brain. Generously illustrated throughout with family photographs and original sketches, the authors cover Gowers' early years, his clinical work at Queen Square, his accolades, and friendships with explorers and famous authors. Co-authored by an academic with special access to the Gowers family archives and two leading neurologists, this book is the first definitive reference work on the life of William Richard Gowers, and will be of great interest to neurologists, neuroscientists, medical historians, and laypersons with an interest in neurology and mental illness.


1. Family and schooling in Victorian England
2. Apprentice years 1861-2
3. Apprentice years 1863
4. Medical student 1863-1870
5. Choosing neurology
6. Gowers and clinical diagnosis
7. Gowers the writer and researcher
8. Gowers the writer and lecturer
9. Life outside work
10. 'Grand old man' of clinical neurology
11. Gowers: the man, his work, and his legacy

About the author: 

Ann Scott is William Richard Gowers' great-granddaughter. She was born in London and grew up in Oxford. In 1963 she married Australian Rhodes Scholar, Roger Scott, and has subsequently lived in Kampala, Sydney, Belfast, Canberra, and for most of the last 35 years in Brisbane. She embarked on tertiary study in 1973 after her two children started school. She was awarded a Bachelor of Education in 1979, and a PhD in Government in 1984. Her doctoral thesis was a study of education policymaking in Queensland. She worked in the Queensland public service for 20-years from 1984-2004, and has published historical papers on Queensland politics and public policy. Since retiring she has taught public policy at the University of Queensland, edited Nova, the journal of the University of Queensland Alumni Friends of Antiquity, and been an interviewer for an oral history project funded by the Queensland Government: 'Queensland Speaks'.; Mervyn Eadie is an expert in the field of clinical neurology and neuropharmacology, particularly in relation to the treatment of epilepsy and migraine. He has authored or co-authored more than 17 books, 71 book chapters, and 381 journal articles. He was chair of the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee for eight years and also served on the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. Professor Eadie graduated MBBS from The University of Queensland in 1955, and was awarded his MD in 1962 and his PhD in 1969. He became a member of the Royal Australian College of Physicians in 1959, a fellow in 1968 and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh by direct election in 1984. A senior neurologist at the Royal Brisbane Hospital since 1961 and at Royal Children's Hospital until 1973, Professor Eadie has been associated with the University's Medicine Department since the early 1960s. Awarded the Order of Australia in 1992, he now holds the title of Emeritus Profesor at UQ.; Born in Merseyside, Andrew Lees qualified in medicine at the Royal London Hospital Medical College in 1970. His postgraduate clinical training in neurology was undertaken at l'Hopital de la Salpetriere, Paris, University College London Hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Andrew has achieved international recognition for his work on Parkinson's disease and abnormal movement disorders and was elected President of the International Movement Disorder Society (2004-6). In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Movement Disorders Research Award by the American Academy of Neurology which recognises an individual for outstanding work in the field of Parkinson's disease or other movement disorders for either a single outstanding contribution or for lifetime achievement. The following year he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2010 he was elected an overseas member of the Academia Nacional de Medicina, Brazil.

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