Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine: A Life of John Snow

By Peter Vinten-Johansen; Howard Brody et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
London Medical and
Surgical Training,
1836–1838

IN AUGUST 1836 Snow left behind his family and his temperance activities in York to continue his medical training in London. He took a circuitous route, however, traveling first to Liverpool, perhaps to visit teetotal acquaintances. Thereafter, according to Richardson, he "trudg"ed" it afoot from Liverpool through the whole of North and South Wales, turned London-ward, calling at Bath on the way, on a visit to his uncle, Mr. Empson." Like his uncle, who had hiked from New York to Montreal and back a few years earlier, Snow enjoyed walking. This tour from Liverpool to London covered almost 400 miles and probably took four or five weeks (Fig. 3.1).1

It is likely that Snow's visit with Uncle Charles had a purpose beyond familial duty and personal friendship. Snow intended to be a full-time student, and it is improbable that he could have saved enough during his three years as an apothecary assistant to cover fees, books, and room and board for as much as two years of medical training. He probably received financial help from Uncle Charles and perhaps from his parents as well.2


Requirements for Certification

Dual qualification necessitated that candidates complete the requirements of both the Royal College of Surgeons in London and the Worshipful Society of Apothe-

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