William Henry Day was born in Wantage, Berkshire (now part of Oxfordshire) in 1830, the son of Thomas Day a ‘gentleman’. It’s not know at this stage whether any of his family were medics before him. At some point the family moved to Stratton in Wiltshire. In 1848, when he would have been 18 years of age, he began an apprenticeship to Thomas Fryer of Bristol for 5 years, during which time he won various prizes/scholorships detailed in his later Medical Directory entries. They also show that he had some connections with the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Later he obtained some training at King’s College London as well. In 1854 he passed the membership examination of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS), giving his address as Stratton, the family home. Interestingly he didn’t take the normally paired LSA from the Society of Apothecaries at that point (see The history of medical treatments, training, qualifications and regulation for more details on these qualifications), but spent some time serving in the forces, where he was an Assistant Surgeon in H.M. 3rd foot (known as the Buffs). He served in the Crimean war and was present at the famous siege of Sebastopol (above). It was there that he first met the famous surgeon Spencer Wells, designer of the Spencer Wells forceps still in use today (see image below left), and who was to play an important role later in his career. However, by 1857 William Henry Day was back in England, passing his LSA that year, having obtained an MD degree from St Andrews as well a couple of months earlier. Then came his move to Newmarket.
Dr Day is first mentioned at Newmarket on 25th September 1857, when he was described as the partner of Floyd Minter Peck and substitute in case of absence from the latter’s role as Medical Officer to division 3 of the Newmarket Union (the local poor law union). In December of that same year William Henry Day married his first wife Emma Clementina Ryall, who sadly then died less than a year later, but he remarried in 1860 to another Emma (Kitchener), with whom he had four children in Newmarket, born between 1861 and 1865.
The partnership with Floyd Minter Peck was a short handover partnership, since Floyd emigrated to Australia in January 1858. Their partnership (Peck and Day) is however mentioned in the 1858 Medical Directory (see an image on the page about Floyd Minter Peck). In that entry he’s recorded as living at 3 Park Terrace, which is thought to have been the same as the Pecks residence on the 1851 census, later named Cardigan Lodge. The practice would have been sold/bought at that time, so it would probably have been a disappointment to William Henry Day that he didn’t manage to retain the Newmarket Union role, which went to George Borwick Mead from a rival practice. There was no guarantee from the Newmarket Union that on the sale of a practice the successor automatically obtained his predecessor’s poor law role though.
Perhaps however that was a blessing in disguise, allowing Dr Day to concentrate more on his academic interests, leading to his impressive later career development. The most interesting thing about William Henry Day from a Newmarket perspective is his publications in the medical press from his time in the town and later. They give a fascinating insight into medical practice at the time, detailed in in the references below, especially an 1864 case report in the BMJ, and another describing a Victorian steam tent in 1863. After 10 years in Newmarket, his publishing activities and perhaps former contacts with Spencer Wells etc., led William Day to leave in 1867 for a consultant post in London, initially at a chest hospital for 3 years, but then to The Samaritan Free Hospital for Women and Children, where he became a pioneering paediatrician and also an early anaesthetist, working with Spencer Wells. He wrote a couple of textbooks on Paediatrics, including a particularly substantial one in 1881, from which we can learn a lot more about standard medical practice of the time; his views on the use of leeches in particular are interesting (see the 1881 reference below). He’s also regarded as a founding father of paediatric neurology, so basically became a very accomplished individual. William Henry Day must be regarded as the most eminent medic ever to have worked in general practice at Newmarket. Interestingly, he features in an 1864 trade directory described as a ‘physician’, whereas the other Newmarket medics of the time (Richard Faircloth, Robert Fyson & Samuel Gamble, and George Borwick Mead) were described as surgeons, perhaps indicating his special interest in the medical rather than surgical side of things, although clearly he had a surgical repertoire too. Aside from his earlier publications, during his time in Newmarket he’s mentioned attending various medical incidents in the town, detailed in the Newspaper references below, and himself was involved in an RTA (between horses and carts!) at Bridge Street, Cambridge, in 1865.
The Day family appear to have lived at 3 Park Terrace / Cardigan Lodge until 1861, but then by 1862 they had relocated to Lushington House, a bit further west along the High Street. The practice was to remain there for over 60 years (see The Rookery practice chain). When Dr Day left Newmarket in 1866/7, Frederick Clement Gray moved into Lushington House as his successor, and as mentioned above the practice would have been sold/bought again at that point, adverts for practices regularly appearing in the medical press during this period (there were even agencies involved in some cases). The House itself was owned by the Lushingtons until Frederick Clement Gray bought it in 1875 (see the page on Lushington House for more details).
William Henry Day died in 1907, but interestingly his decade in Newmarket doesn’t even feature in his BMJ obituary of that year! In many ways his time before as an army surgeon and afterwards as an eminent London physician are more significant/interesting though. His legacy to Newmarket is the fascinating detail he’s left us regarding 19th century medical practice in the town and further afield, as detailed below. It’s interesting to consider though what little even the most eminent medics could do back then that had any real efficacy (a fact he would perhaps have agreed with – see his 1864 and 1873 comments below). However, being involved with the pioneering surgical work of Spencer Wells must have been rewarding in that context. Will our early 21st century efforts be regarded as rather ineffective in 150 years’ time? I suspect the answer is yes. But before anyone reading this in 2169 agrees with a smirk, consider what any 2319 readers might think of your efforts! In contrast, we’ll all discover sooner or later that ‘the word of our God stands forever’ (Isaiah 40:8, WEB), medicine for the soul written over two millennia ago, and still healing with eternal efficacy to this day (see Why talkingdust.net?)!
Note: The painting above is possibly of William Henry Day. It’s been passed down through Floyd Minter Peck’s descendants, and says on the back ‘Dr Day Newmarket’. Clearly that’s evidence of the Peck descendants being aware of Floyd’s successor in Newmarket. However, there is some doubt whether this is actually of William Henry Day (see The Pecks for details, but basically the proposed artist can’t be correct if this is of William Henry Day, although it might have been by that artist’s daughter, and the clothes are a little dated for the period as well, 1820s apparently, but doctors have been known to wear dated clothes!).
Image 1: A wood engraving entitled ‘siege of Sebastopol – Dr. Smith’s new hospital waggons’, from the Wellcome Collection (cropped); image used under CC BY 4.0, reproduced with kind permission of the Wellcome Collection. [Note: click here for the source.]
Image 2: From the Science Museum, London (cropped); image used under CC BY 4.0, reproduced with kind permission of the Science Museum and Wellcome Collection. [Note: click here for the source.]
Image 3: The 1861 census, reference RG9/1031 (cropped); image ©, reproduced with kind permission of The National Archives.
Image 4: From a private collection; image ©, reproduced with kind permission of the Smith family. [Note: see note above or click here for more details on this image and its source etc.]
Image 5: Photograph taken in 2019, by the author of talkingdust.net, taken and used here with kind permission of The Society of Apothecaries Archives. [Note: this is in the references below.]
Note: see comments regarding images and copyright © etc. on the Usage &c. page as well.
1854: Gave his location as Stratton when first recorded at the Royal College of Surgeons. Reference: Personal email from the Royal College of Surgeons of England Archives, (14th October 2013).
1857, 2nd July: William Henry Day passed the LSA examination, apprenticed to Thomas Fryer of Bristol for 5 years. Reference: Court of Examiners Candidates’ Qualification Entry Book, The Society of Apothecaries Archives, Apothecaries’ Hall, Black Friars Lane, London EC4V 6EJ. [Note: the apprenticeship is recorded to have started 17th February 1848 and where the lectures are usually recorded it simply states ‘M.D. St. Andrew’s 8th May 1857’. It mentions that he was the son of Thomas Day of Stratton St Margarets, Wiltshire, and that he was born on 30th November 1830.]
1857, 25th September: Mr. Floyd Minter Peck, Newmarket Medical Officer of District no. 3… named his Partner Dr. William Henry Day as his substitute in case of absence &c’. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1857, 15th December: Under marriages, ‘DAY-RYALL.- On the 15th inst., at the parish church of West-bury, near Bristol, Wm. Henry Day, Esq., M.D., Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, late of H.M.’s 3d Foot, and only son of Thomas Day, Esq., Stratton, near Swindon, Wilts, to Emma Clementina, eldest daughter of Wm. Ryall, Esq., of Westbury Court, near Bristol.’ Reference: The Standard. London, Saturday Dec 19 1857: 8.
1858: ‘DAY, WM. HENRY, 3, Park-terr. Newmarket, Cambs. (Peck and Day)- M.D. St. And. 1857; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1854; L.S.A. 1857; late Asst.-Surg. H.M. 3rd Foot.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1858. [Note: he does not appear in any earlier year’s editions.]
1858, 15th January: ‘Mr. Peck’s resignation of medical district no. 3 was received and accepted when the Board resolved to proceed to the election of his successor… Dr. Day Mr. Peck’s deputy to be requested to attend the sick poor in the mean time [sic] until the election.’ Reference:611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1858, 5th February: Mr. George B. Mead elected as medical officer to district 3, having received 18 votes compared with 10 for Dr. William H. Day. Reference: 611/21, Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1858, 9th February: ‘THE UNION – MEDICAL OFFICER.- At a meeting of the Board of Guardians, on Friday last, there were two candidates for the appointment of Surgeon for No. 3 District, comprising Ashley, Cheveley, Kennet, Moulton, and Woodditton, namely, Mr. Day, successor to the practice of Mr. Peck, the late officer, and Mr. Mead, of the firm of Page and Mead, Newmarket, when Mr. Mead was successful, having gained the appointment by a majority of ten.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday Feb 9 1858: 3. [Note: according to the minutes above the majority was 8 – don’t believe everything you read in the papers (or the minutes?)!]
1858, June/July: ‘Dr. Day’ wrote to the Newmarket Union regarding ‘a Medical Certificate for Meat and Porter to a Pauper which had been disregarded by the Relieving Officer’. His complaint was upheld and the Relieving Officer ‘reprimanded’. Reference: 611/21 (25th June and 9th July meetings), Newmarket Union Minutes, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1858, 12th September: Under deaths, ‘DAY – At Newmarket, on the 12th instant, Emma Clemen-tina, the wife of W. H. Day, Esq., M.D., aged 27.’ Reference: The Cambridge Independent Press. Saturday Sept 18 1858: 8.
1860, 30th May: Marriage certificate of William Henry Day, Widower, Doctor of medicine, All Saints’, Newmarket, son of Thomas Day, Gentleman, to Emma Kitchener, Spinster, of Woodditton, daughter of William Cripps Kitchener, Gentleman, at All Saints’ church, Newmarket. Reference: Certified copy of a register of Marriages, given at the General Register Office, 6th June 2013. [Note: this can also be seen on microfiche. Reference: Microfiche of Newmarket All Saints’ parish register (fiche 16), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).]
1860, September: Attended a death at Dullingham and perfomed a post mortem (which was normal practice for generalist medics at this time – see many other examples on this website). At the coroner’s inquest he ‘gave the results… in such plain terms as to leave no doubt in the minds of the jury, but that the deceased died whilst in a state of coma, produced by excessive drinking of some alcohol.’ Reference: Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal. Saturday Sept 8 1860: 4.
1861: ‘DAY, Wm. HENRY, 3, Park-terr. Newmarket, Cambs.- M.D. St. And. 1857; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1854; L.S.A. 1857; late Asst.-Surg. H.M. 3rd Foot.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1861.
1861, 1st May: Thomas Cripps Day, son of William Henry (doctor of medicine) and Emma baptised, All Saints’, Newmarket. Reference: Microfiche of Newmarket All Saints’ parish register (fiche 11), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1861, 7/8th April: William H. Day, aged 30, ‘(M.D.) General Practitioner’, born in Wantage, Berkshire, together with his wife Emma, newborn son with ‘Monthly Nurse’, who would have been in connection with the son, not a medical nurse, a cook, housemaid and footman, living in what’s thought to be the later Cardigan Lodge (3 Park Terrace) in the High Street. Recorded separately is Louisa Cooper, a housekeeper, thought to be likely associated with the Days (see the page on Cardigan Lodge for rationale). Reference: The National Archives, 1861 census. [Note: the house is not called 3 Park Terrace on the census or Cardigan Lodge (a later name) but is thought to have been that property – see the page on Cardigan Lodge for more detail.], [Note also, on this census the building that is likely to be Lushington House appears to be occupied by a housekeeper only. See the page on Lushington House for more details and the 23rd May reference below.]
1861, 23rd May: Auction of the ‘HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE and Miscellaneous Effects, of the Right Honourable S. R. Lushington’ at Lushington House, ‘The whole of the effects will be sold without the slight reserve, in consequence of Lushington House being Let unfurnished.’ Reference: The Cambridge Independent Press. Saturday May 18 1861: 2.
1862: ‘DAY, WILLIAM HENRY, Lushington House, Newmarket, Cambs. – M.D. St. And. 1857; L.R.C.P. 1861; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1854; L.S.A. 1857; obtained Surg. Clin. Prize 1852, and Supl. Surg. Scholarship 1852, of Bristol Roy. Infirm.; late Staff. Asst.-Surg. to Forces, and to H.M. 3rd Foot (Buffs); served in Crimea and Siege of Sebastopol (Crimean Medal and Clasp.) Author of Prize Essay “On Strictures of the Urethra” (awarded by Med. Soc. Bristol Roy. Infirm. 1852.) Contrib: “On Neuralgia of the Uterus following Premature Labour,” “Puerperal Convulsions,” “Sequelae of Remittent Fever,” &c. Lancet, Brit. Med. Journ. &c.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1862.
1862, 4th January: Published a detailed case report of two obstetric cases. Reference: Day WH. Severe neuralgia of the uterus following premature labour: early discharge of liquor amnii. British Medical Journal 1862;1(53):5-7. [Note: in this reference he describes himself as ‘late Assistant-Surgeon H.M. 3rd Foot’.]
1862, May 19th: Helped at a wagon accident. Reference: The Cambridge Independent Press. Saturday May 24 1862: 5, and Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal. Saturday 24 1862: 5.
1863, 3rd April: Margaret Day, daughter of William Henry (doctor of medicine) and Emma baptised, All Saints’, Newmarket. Reference: Microfiche of Newmarket All Saints’ parish register (fiche 11), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1864: ‘Day William Henry, physician, High st.’ listed under ‘Trades and Professions’ in Newmarket. Reference: History, Topography, & Directory of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire… . London: Edward Cassey and Co.; 1864, pg 164. [Note: Richard Faircloth, Fyson & Gamble, and George B. Mead are listed as surgeons in the High Street, apparently singling out William Henry Day as a physician in particular.]
1863, February: Performed a post mortem on a death at Saxon Street. Reference: The Bury Free Press. Saturday Feb 14 1863: 5.
1863, 30th May: Published a series of case reports on croup, in which he gives detailed day by day descriptions of symptoms, signs and treatments employed. The cases are rather more severe than we see today and at least some of them appear to be caused by diphtheria. The most interesting feature in this publication is his description of how he made a steam tent, ‘He was put to bed sur-rounded at the top and sides by curtains; and two pans of boiling water, into which heated bricks had been thrown, so as to generate a large quantity of steam, and literally to give the patient a vapour-bath, were included within the curtains. Similar pans were also scattered about the room’. Reference: Day WH. Notes on croup. British Medical Journal 1863;1(126):560-562. [Note: in this reference he gives his address as Newmarket.]
1863, 27th June: Published a case of renal calculus (kidney stone). He starts ‘I extract the following case from my case-book’, which suggests he kept detailed notes on at least some cases, since the following account contains a great deal of detail about a case from October 1862 (see December 1867 below also). The treatment included ‘Ten leeches were applied to the side’ and various other methods and medicines employed, although it wasn’t until after this that he suspected renal colic. Also he ‘met Mr. Image of Bury St. Edmunds in consultation’, which appears to be an early example of a ‘consultant’ opinion. Reference: Day WH. Case of renal calculus. British Medical Journal 1863;1(130):671. [Note: in this reference he gives his address as Newmarket.], [Note also, it’s of note that Mr. Image could perform lithotomy for bladder stone (see the Suffolk Medical Biographies reference below), which is perhaps why he was consulted, but on this occasion the patient passed the stone spontaneously.], [Note also, see the pages on Robert James Peck and Referral hospitals for more on early consultant opinions.]
1864, 16th April: Published another case report in the BMJ, this time on tonsillitis/quinsey in which he made incisions. The case was complicated by prolonged abdominal pains afterwards, and the patient treated with an extraordinary sequence of mid-19th century remedies outlined here to give an example and flavour of medical practice at that time. Post op he gave ‘effervescing salines with spirits of nitrous ether and chloric ether; and brandy with soda water to allay thirst, and to support her feeble circulation’. She was nourished initially with milk and water, but then with ‘strong beef-tea, jellies, and port wine’. She developed abdominal pain and constipation, and after initially self-medicating with ‘two strong pills’ to no avail, was given an unspecified ‘mild aperient’, eventually responding to a ‘warm water enema’. However, her abdominal pain worsened so ‘she was ordered five grains of citrate of iron and quinine with half a drachm of aromatic spirits of ammonia twice a day’. An ointment composed of ‘one part of extract of belladonna and nine parts of extract of white poppy’ was applied to her abdomen using a linen rag and she was given ‘six ounces of port wine daily, and strong beef-tea’. Her pains became worse and she remained constipated, so she was given a ‘turpentine and assafoetida enema’ an ‘opiate liniment to the body’ and ‘half a grain of the muriate of morphia every six hours’. She became much worse, so the ‘steel mixture and morphia were omitted’ and a ‘draught of quinine mixture and chloric ether was ordered every four hours; and one table-spoonful of brandy every two hours in place of the port wine’. She improved although still required enemas to open her bowels. The pain was focused more in one place so a ‘small blister was raised on the right side of the body over the seat of pain, and dressed with a lotion of morphia (eight grains to the ounce of water)’. ‘A catheter was passed’, ‘the turpentine and assafoetida enema’ repeated and a ‘belladonna plaster’ applied to her back. ‘Thirty drops of chlorodyne were ordered to be taken every night; and a draught containing ten minims of chloric ether, and five minims of nux vomica, three times a day’. Then ‘As she was sick, champagne was or-dered instead of the port wine’. Also, ‘five grains of compound galbanum pill three times a day’ was added to her regimen. The pain then switched sides, so a ‘liniment of equal parts of compound camphor liniment and tincture of aconite was ordered to be applied to the body’, which did nothing, so ‘an ointment of aconitina was ap-plied’ which also did nothing, so ‘galvanism was tried over the seat of the pain on the left side’ [cf. The Pecks use of electricity, and George Borwick Mead]. Another medic, apparently from elsewhere, was consulted. ‘He advised a return to the compound galbanum pill, and five grains of bromide of potassium, with a drachm of tincture of valerian three times a day’ and in the event of hard motions ‘three grains of compound colocynth pill and two of extract of henbane every six hours’. She got worse, and so was given ‘a rhubarb and carminative draught, fol-lowed by a copious enema of tincture of assafoetida and turpentine’. At least her bowels worked, with great distress, so she was given a ‘pill of belladonna, and after-wards a full dose of chlorodyne’. This was followed by a regimen of ‘two pills of ox-gall, henbane, and an aqueous extract of aloes’ every six hours. She continued to suffer but interestingly went home to Lincolnshire at that point, where aside from being given an ‘anodyne pill’ for pain in the temple she recovered with ‘tonics and good diet’. His reflections on the case include the insightful remark, ‘As to treatment, I cannot flatter myself that me-dicines were of any real service. They too frequently become irritants’. Reference: Day WH. Case of neuralgia of the abdominal muscles following acute tonsillitis: recovery after 6 months’ illness. British Medical Journal 1864;1(172):412-414. [Note: in this reference he gives his address as Newmarket.]
1864, May: Reported to have been in attendance at the death of Samuel Yate Benyon, Chairman of the Newmarket Magistrates and Newmarket Union Board of Guardians, ‘Dr. Day, of Newmarket was promptly in attend-ance upon him, and at once pronounced him in danger, and notwithstanding his unremitting attention his illness increased in intensity till Thursday morning last, when he died.’ Reference: The Bury and Norwich Post. Tuesday May 24 1864: 8. [Note: interestingly another paper reported his attendance at the funeral, heading the cortege ‘At half-past two o’clock, the mournful cortege entered the churchyard in the following order. Dr. Day, the medical attendant…’ Reference: The Cambridge Independent Press. Saturday May 28 1864: 8.]
1864, 24th July: Francis Henry Day, son of William Henry (doctor of medicine) and Emma baptised, All Saints’, Newmarket. Reference: Microfiche of Newmarket All Saints’ parish register (fiche 11), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1864: Attended a patient with ‘“pain in the abdomen and back”’ who turned out to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which he correctly identified on careful examination. The treatment included applying ten leeches to the pulsatile mass (!) – at least there was some sort of logic to it, and he did something. Rightly though he doesn’t appear to have expected this intervention to help very much, which is what he seems to mean by ‘I gave an unfavourable opinion’. Interestingly the patient, a coachman, look himself off to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London for a second opinion, where a Dr Kirkes concurred with the diagnosis. The patient eventually returned home and died a couple of months later, the main medical intervention it seems being to keep him comfortable with opiates, interestingly taken both by mouth and applied as a poultice. A post mortem later confirmed a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Reference: Day WH, The Lancet 1865;85(2182):675. [Note: ‘Wm. Henry Day’ gives his location as Newmarket.], [Note also, interestingly Dr Kirkes from Barts died before the patient – his obituary appearing in the BMJ the day after the patient died! Reference: British Medical Journal 1864;2(208)714-715.]
1865, 25th March: Letter to the Editor of the Lancet regarding the treatment of gastrodynia i.e. stomach ache, for which he makes various recommendations regarding medicines (including iron) and counter irritant plasters, but adds the interesting observation that excess tea or smoking ‘will frequently bring on the complaint’ and links the condition to anaemia and over work / anxiety. Reference: Day WH. Gastrodynia. The Lancet 1865;85(2169):332. [Note: in this reference he gives his address as Newmarket, and his letter was dated 28th February.]
1865, 24th May: Involved in a carting accident on Bridge Street in Cambridge. ‘Dr. Day, a physician, of Newmarket… said he should not have taken proceedings against the defendant had he apologised, but they drove on and took not the slightest notice.’ Reference: Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal. Saturday June 10 1865: 8.
1865, 6th September: Florence Day, daughter of William Henry (doctor of medicine) and Emma baptised, All Saints’, Newmarket. Reference: Microfiche of Newmarket All Saints’ parish register (fiche 11), (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds).
1865/6: ‘DAY, WILLIAM HENRY, M.D., Lushington House, Park terrace, Newmarket.’ recorded as an ‘Ordinary Fellow’ of the Obstetrical Society of London, and having been so since 1859. Reference: Transactions of the Obstetrical Society of London. Vol. VII. For the year 1865. with a list of Officers, Fellows, etc. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.; 1866, xvi. [Note: Lushington House is not on Park Terrace but The Terrace; 3 Park Terrace was William Henry Day’s previous address, so likely this was a misunderstanding regarding his change of address by someone at the London Society who was not familiar with the subtleties of naming along different parts of Newmarket High Street.], [Note also, his membership of this society is interesting given his association with Spencer Wells, who’s especially remembered for his contributions to Obstetrics & Gynaecology.]
1866: ‘DAY, WILLIAM HENRY, Lushington House, Newmarket, Cambs.- M.D… Contrib. various Papers on Medical Subjects to Lancet, Brit. Med. Journ. &c.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1866.
1866: ‘Day, W. Henry’, who obtained his MRCS in 1854, recorded as at Newmarket. Reference: Personal email from the Royal College of Surgeons of England Archives, together with scanned image of 1866 members list (14th October 2013).
1866, 27th October: William H. Day listed as a member of the BMA in Suffolk (Newmarket). Reference: British Medical Journal 1866; 2(304): 478. [Note: Richard Faircloth, Robert Fyson and George B. Mead are also listed.]
1867: ‘DAY, WILLIAM H., 10, Manchester-sq. W.- M.D. St. And. 1857; L.R.C.P. Lond. 1861; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1854; L.S.A. 1857; (Bristol and King’s Coll. Lond.); obtained Surg. Clin. Prize, 1852; and Supl. Surg. Scholarship, 1852, of Bristol Roy. Infirm.; late Staff Asst. Surg. to the Forces, and to H.M. 3rd Foot (Buffs); served in the Crimea and Siege of Sebastopol; (Crimean Medal and Clasp for Sebastopol). Author of Prize Essay “On Strictures of the Urethra” (awarded by Med. Soc. Bristol Roy. Infirm. 1852). Contrib. various Papers on Medical Subjects to Lancet, Brit. Med. Journ., &c.’ Reference: The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1867.
1867: ‘Day, W. Henry’, who obtained his MRCS in 1854, recorded at Manchester-square. Reference: Personal email from the Royal College of Surgeons of England Archives, together with scanned image of 1867 members list (14th October 2013).
1867, 19th January: Under ‘MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS’, ‘W. H. DAY, M.D., has been appointed an additional Visiting Physician to the Infirmary for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square.’ Reference: The Lancet 1867;89(2264):102.
1867, 29th April: Under Births, ‘Day. On April 29th, at 10, Manchester Square, the wife of W. H. Day, M.D., of a son, who survived his birth a few hours.’ Reference: British Medical Journal 1867;1(331):528.
1867, December: Published ‘On Gastrodynia’ and described as ‘Physician to the Margaret-Street Infirmary for consumption and diseases of the chest’. His account includes case studies from 1861-1864 – i.e. from his time in Newmarket, so these were local patients, although by the time he wrote them up (August 1867) he gave his address as Manchester Square. The accounts he gives again show that he must have kept detailed notes, at least for some cases; and he mentions his notebook again, ‘on referring to my note-book I find that a nobleman con-sulted me…’ followed by a detailed description of a case from 1861, including physical appearance / signs, symptoms, systems review, family, dietary and smoking history. Reference: Day WH. On gastrodynia. The Lancet 1867; 90(2312&2313):764-5&802-3. [Note: interestingly he mentions a follow up with the nobleman in June 1867, so presumably in London? It wouldn’t be surprising if such a patient had a Newmarket residence as well, for visiting the races. He mentions that this patient had consulted others in Paris even.]
1871, 2nd/3rd April: William H Day, aged 40, ‘Physician’, born in Wantage, Berkshire, together with a butler, cook (interestingly from Woodditton), and housemaid living at 10 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London. Reference: The National Archives, 1871 census.
1873: Published a book / short collection of essays on diseases in children. Reference: Day WH. Essays on diseases in children. London: J. & A. Churchill; 1873. [Note: thanks to DW Dunn in A Ashwal’s ‘The Founders of Child Neurology’ book referenced below for drawing my attention to this publication.], [Note also, it contains the interesting remark in its introduction (repeated in the much larger 1881 publication below, pg 9) ‘medicines are foreign to the system, and should be avoided when possible, it being far better to trust to food than to physic.’ pg 12, although he adds later ‘Medicines, I am afraid, cannot be entirely dispensed with.’ pg 27-28, adding a note of caution ‘we shall act the wiser part by trusting to such drugs as are well known, rather than flying to this or that on a mere chance of reward for such unscientific speculation.’ pg 28-29. On page 81 he makes the useful passing remark ‘During the three years that I was visiting physician to the Margaret Street Dispensary for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest’, and at the front of the book he is described as ‘Physician to the Samaritan Free Hospital for Women and Children.’]
1875, June: Rough notes written in pencil on the back of the Abstract of Title for Lushington House, ‘Wm Henry Day Esq MD of Manchester Square had a lease for [number looks like a 5 and 8 superimposed?*] years. Mr Fredk. Gray – succeeded Dr Day- F G has lived there 9 – For some years S. R Lushington lived in the house’. Three more lines read ‘Lord Chesterfied – Fl[…?] – absolute Cook.[?]’ Reference: ‘Abstract of the title of James Lushington Wildman Lushington and Francis James Wildman Lushington Esquires to a messuage with garden and appurts at Newmarket in the County of Cambridge’ in collection RH114/013, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: I saw this collection at a solicitors’ office in London thanks to the Directors of the Lushington House Investment Company (see the page on Lushington House), and subsequently arranged for it to be deposited in the Cambridgeshire Archives who inform me it has been given this reference number.], [ * Note also, William Day had leased the house for about 5 years but had been in Newmarket about 8 years, so perhaps this number reflects an initial remark followed by a clarifying remark made by someone in conversation with Frederick Gray as the notes were being made?]
1875, 2nd August: Lushington House described as ‘that messuage or dwellinghouse situate on ‘the terrace’ at Newmarket… formerly in the occupation of Lord Chesterfield afterwards of the said Stephen Rumbold Lushington then of William Henry Day and now in the occupation of the said Frederick Clement Gray’. Reference: Conveyance of a Messuage or Dwellinghouse situate at Newmarket in the County of Cambridge. J. L. Wildman Lushington and F. J. Wildman Lushington to Frederick Clement Gray Esquire, in collection RH114/013, (Cambridgeshire County Record Office [called Cambridgeshire Archives], Cambridge – subsequently relocated to Ely). [Note: see comments above regarding this collection.]
1879: Appears as ‘W. H. Day M.D.’ in a London handbook, under ‘Doctors’, ‘SAMARITAN FREE HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN, Lower Seymour-street, Portman-square’, under both ‘Physicians to Children In-patients’ and ‘Physicians for Out-Patients’. Reference: Dickens’s Dictionary of London, 1879. An Unconventional handbook. London: Charles Dickens; 1879. Re-published as ‘Charles Dickens A Dictionary of London, 1879’. London: Howard Baker Press Ltd.; 1972.
1881: Published a textbook on paediatrics. Reference: Day WH. On the diseases of children for practitioners and students. London: J. & A. Churchill; 1881. [Note: the book has some very interesting extended comments with regards to leeches and blood-letting. Regarding the use of leeches in the treatment of meningitis he writes, ‘Leeches have been used, but they are not very satisfactory, and can scarcely be advocated in young children, the loss of blood not being well borne, except in very special cases. The pallor of the face, and frequency of pulse that follow their use, should make us extremely timid of their application; and yet, from the cere-bral congestion witnessed in some fatal cases, the abstraction of blood appears warrantable. When used they should be applied to the vertex, or close behind the ears, where pressure can be readily applied, if the bleeding is too active, and there is fear of the child losing too much blood. They may be employed with greater chance of good than in the tubercular form of the disease, where the evil might be aggravated.’ However, he goes on to cite a Dr Wilks from an 1878 publication who ‘is in favour of leeching’ and whom he quotes ‘“I believe, therefore, that at the present day, if you think a child has acute meningitis setting in, you will have no better treatment at hand than the application of leeches, and the saline with antimony.”’, pg 560. He makes similar comments later in the book, in his ‘Congestion of the brain’ chapter. He writes, ‘Treatment.- This is similar to that which has been recommended in simple meningitis. In severe cases that are seen early, where the pulse is strong, leeches to the scalp may be necessary. Dr West records the case of a little girl, two years of age, who was seized with convulsions and congestion of the brain preceding the eruption of smallpox. He bled to three ounces, then applied eight leeches to the head, and gave active cathartics, without much bene-fit. The restlessness, squinting, and rolling of the head continued, notwithstanding he applied eight more leeches to the head, which “bled profusely, and the bleeding was followed by great diminution in the convulsive movements.” [cites: ‘On the Diseases of infancy and Childhood,’ 1859, p.40] The eruptive disease ran its course favourably, and the child recovered. Bloodletting, as a rule, will not be necessary. It is important to be extremely cautious in the abstraction of blood, for young children bear the loss if it badly, and we commit a serious error if we draw too much. When the symptoms are relieved we should at once arrest the bleeding, but if they return, and the head is hot, or there is drowsiness, convulsion, or threatening coma, then we must repeat the bleeding; but never unless the strength of the child seems to warrant it.’ Then after mentioning purgatives (a standard treatment for most things at the time it seems) and an ice-cap, he provides some rationale, ‘In these cases, the first point to be attended to is the tension of the artery, which must be our guide. If it is full and incompres-sible then it is clear that our treatment must be directed towards the lowering of this arterial tension. To dilate the arterioles of the rest of the body is one means towards attaining this end; to abstract blood is another. Formerly the practice would have been to bleed the child, or to apply leeches, probably also to purge freely. Now we would prefer to deplete the congestive brain with vascular depressants. Rasori’s plan of free adminis-tration of tartarated antimony held its ground for many years, but disastrous consequences often resulted from the use of it.’ He goes on to suggest aconite., pg 610-611 (there is also similar mention of leeches, purgatives and cold to the head on pg 613). Regarding the treatment of pericarditis he writes, ‘The objects to be aimed at are to reduce the inflam-mation and to favour the absorbtion of the effused fluid. Leeches may be applied to the cardiac region in strong subjects, and there can be no question of their service where the pain is very acute, and the pulse is frequent and hard, but venaesection is never necessary in children, however robust they may be, because reduction of the strength has to be feared, especially as the complaint frequently follows rheumatism, when the constitution already low will not bear further depression, and the blood in many instances is poor and aqueous.’ He goes on to mention mustard poultices, pg 529. Leeches and venesection also get a mention in the treatment of lobar pneumonia; he writes ‘In the acute congestive stage, if the child is strong enough, and there is much pain in the side, the application of a few leeches, or even venesection, is not to be neglected.’ He goes on to quote an earlier textbook, ‘West, Diseases of Infancy and Childhood, 1859, 4th edition, p. 321’; it’s implied that the bleeding was thought to relieve congestion in the lungs, (from West’s): ‘It must never be forgotten that in the child, as well as in the adult, no subsequent care can make up for the inefficient treatment of the early stage of pneumonia: if the first twenty-four hours be allowed to pass while you are employing inadequate remedies, the lung, which at first was merely congested, will have become solid, and recovery, if it takes place eventually, will be tardy, and perhaps imperfect. On the other hand, cases that set in with the greatest severity sometimes appear to be at once cut short by free depletion [by leeches or venesection]; the violent symptoms being arrested, and recovery going on uninterruptedly, almost without em-ployment of any other remedy’.], [Note also, in the introduction he repeats the comments about food vs. physic from the 1873 publication above.], [Note also, the 1863 and 1864 references above for examples of Dr Day using leeches in Newmarket], [Note especially, see the Usage &c. tab below with regards to the medical remedies outlined here and elsewhere on this page, and on this website generally. Basically, THE ABOVE ADVICE IS NOT TO BE FOLLOWED TODAY!], [Note also, thanks to DW Dunn in A Ashwal’s ‘The Founders of Child Neurology’ book referenced below for drawing my attention to this book and some of its interesting contents, albeit in a different form from the copy I have seen (i.e. he references an edition from the same year published by Blakiston in Philadelphia, so interestingly this book appears to have had international appeal). Apparently it was published on the continent too according to the Harms 1967 reference below, in ‘Some other sources consulted include’.]
1881, 3rd/4th April: William H Day, aged 50, ‘Physician’, born in Wantage, Berkshire, together with a daughter aged 15, who had been born in Newmarket, butler (interestingly from Newmarket, but not the same butler as in 1871), cook, housemaid and lady’s maid, living at 10 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London. Reference: The National Archives, 1881 census.
1891, 5th/6th April: William Henry Day, aged 60, ‘Physician’ (and ‘Surg’ written in fainter ink or perhaps pencil), born in Wantage, Berkshire, together with wife Emma, son aged 26 and daughter aged 25 who both had been born in Newmarket, daughter in law (who was French, from Nice interestingly), and three servants, living at 10 Manchester Square, Marylebone, London. Reference: The National Archives, 1891 census.
1901, 31st March / 1st April: William H Day, aged 70, ‘own estate’, born in Wantage, Berkshire, together with a cook, housemaid, kitchen maid and groom, living at Holly Hill House, Paddlesworth and Snodland, Kent. Reference: The National Archives, 1901 census.
1902: Gave his location as Meopham. Reference: Personal email from the Royal College of Surgeons of England Archives, (14th October 2013).
1907, 26th October: Obituary in the BMJ. It mentions that he was born on 30th November 1830 at Wantage, and that he ‘began his medical education in Bristol, completing it in King’s College, London’. It mentions that he had resided for many years in Manchester Square, London, and that he was a Crimean war veteran, present at the siege of Sebastopol as an Assistant Surgeon to the Buffs (this was the same as H.M. 3rd Foot – see 1862 BMJ and Medical Directory references above), but that he was ‘chiefly remembered as a former anaesthetist and assistant to Sir Spencer Wells’ (who he originally met in Crimea, but later worked with closely at the Samaritan Free Hospital, London). It mentions his publication of papers and especially his authorship of two books: the 1881 reference above and another called ‘On head-aches, their Nature, Causes, and Treatment’. It mentions that he ‘spent the last years of his life at his estate, Holly Hill, Meopham, Kent, and died on Tuesday, October 22nd’. It describes him as kindly, genial and hospitable, with a large circle of friends. Reference: OBITUARY. WILLIAM HENRY DAY, M.D.ST. [sic] ANDREWS, M.R.C.P., M.R.C.S., CONSULTING PHYSICIAN, SAMARITAN FREE HOSPITAL, LONDON. The British Medical Journal 1907;2(2443):1192-1193. [Note: this obituary does not mention his 10 years in Newmarket at all, skipping straight from the Crimean war to the Samaritan Free Hospital in London, even missing out his time at the Margaret Street Infirmary.]
Harms E. Pioneer in Studies of Juvenile Headaches: William Henry Day (1830-1907). The American Journal of Psychiatry 1967; 123: 1456-1457. [Note: this article ends with the interesting comment ‘In spite of the fact that Dr. Day lived beyond the turn of the century, his name and his highly valuable contribution did not carry over beyond his lifetime.’]
Newmarket Union Minutes 1857-1858. Reference: 611/21, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: I have been through the entirety of these minutes from 1835 to 1930, but this is the only period with references to William Henry Day, since he was only briefly a poor law medical officer in Newmarket.], [Note also, not all of the entries regarding William Henry Day in these minutes have been detailed above. There are a few more, but largely only about routine payments.]
Shops History Newmarket. http://www.newmarketshops.info. [Note: newmarketshops.info has been supplied with information regarding the medical history of Newmarket by the author of talkingdust.net since August 2013 (see footnotes on some of the pages). Both websites continue to be developed, and in this sense are mutually symbiotic.]
Suffolk Medical Biographies. Profile for W H Day. http://www.suffolkmedicalbiographies.co.uk/Profile.asp?Key=71 (originally accessed pre October 2013). [Note: see comments regarding this website on the Francis Greene page.], [Note also, at the time of writing (May 2017) the page on ‘W H Day’ had only two references, the death of his wife in 1858 and attendance at the racecourse fatal accident in 1865 reported in the Ipswich Journal – in fact the injured rider was brought to his residence. Reference: The Ipswich Journal. Saturday Oct 28 1865: 5; also reported in The Sporting Life. Saturday Oct 28 1865: 2. (and the death of his wife was reported in The Cambridge Independent Press also – see above.)], [Note also, this website has a rather more detailed page on Mr Image of Bury St Edmunds who William Day consulted in 1863: http://www.suffolkmedicalbiographies.co.uk/Profile.asp?Key=344, although at the time of writing it does not mention that BMJ reference.]
Ashwal S. The Founders of Child Neurology. San Francisco: Norman Publishing; 1990. (Section on William Henry Day by DW Dunn pg 202-208). [Note: this account focuses on his career after the move to London, but seems unaware that he was in Newmarket for 10 years between the Crimean war and his move to London, seemingly because it relies on his BMJ obituary, despite the fact that in one of the papers cited he gives his address as Newmarket (the 1865 Lancet reference above).]
The Medical Directory. London: Churchill; 1857ff. [Note: William Henry Day does not appear in the 1857 medical directory, his first appearance is 1858 (see above, and also for other key entries in 1861, 1862, 1866 and 1867).], [Note also: this publication has been known by various titles over the years. Initially it just covered London, but from 1847 it had a wider remit, being variously known as the London and Provincial Medical Directory, The Medical Directories, The Medical Directory, etc., essentially the same work with minor variations and developments. It is usually referred to as The Medical Directory (as opposed to The Medical Register), so that is how it’s consistently referred to on talkingdust.net.]
The Medical Register. London: General Medical Council; 1859ff. [Note: the main point of relevance with regards the the Medical Registers as opposed to the Directories regarding William Henry Day is that he is recorded in Newmarket in 1867, then London in 1868, so slightly lagging behind the Medical Directory entries.]
Note: For published material referenced on this website see the ‘Acknowledgements for resources of published material’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page. The sources used for original unpublished documents are noted after each individual reference. Any census records are referenced directly to The National Archives, since images of these are so ubiquitous on microfilm and as digital images that they almost function like published works. Census records are covered by the ‘Open Government Licence’ as should be other such public records (see the ‘Copyright and related issues’ section on the ‘Usage &c.’ page for which references constitute public records, and any other copyright issues more generally such as fair dealing/use etc.).