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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:1443 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.10.1443
  • Historical note

Sir Thomas Clifford Allbutt

  1. J M S Pearce
  1. 304 Beverley Road, Anlaby, Hull HU10 7BG, UK; jmspearce@freenet.co.uk

      Thomas Clifford Allbutt, (b. 20 July 1836; d. 22 February 1925) is of interest to neurologists as the main instigator, along with Gowers, of the routine clinical use of the ophthalmoscope.

      He was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, the only son of Reverend Thomas Allbutt and his wife Marianne, daughter of Robert Wooler. He was educated at St Peter’s School, York, and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1859 with first class honours in the natural sciences tripos. He trained at St George’s Hospital, graduating MB in 1860. After training, Allbutt was appointed in 1864 to the staff of the General Infirmary at Leeds, and lectured on the practice of physic and anatomy at the Yorkshire College. Leeds remained his home for 28 years.

      Allbutt was one of the first to employ the ophthalmoscope in Britain1; importantly, he extended its use beyond the diagnosis of ocular diseases. Like Gowers, he tried to use fundoscopy to show the …