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Henry Head was born of Quaker stock on 4 August 1861 at 6 Park Road, Stoke Newington, son of an insurance broker at Lloyds. Educated at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge (1st class in both parts of the Natural Science Tripos),1 he chose to study Medicine, influenced by his mother's cousin, Marcus Beck, who had been Joseph Lister's assistant. For a period after Cambridge, he worked with Hering on respiratory physiology in Prague, acquiring fluency in both French and German. Head returned to University College Hospital, qualifying in 1890. He worked at Queen Square under Thomas Buzzard, and at Victoria Park Hospital for Chest Diseases, where he developed his interests in pain and in physiology. His Cambridge MD thesis, On disturbances of sensation with especial reference to the pain of visceral disease, was later published in Brain (1893). It was of outstanding merit.
He was registrar, then assistant physician at the London Hospital, where his gifts as a born teacher, impelled to impart information, brought crowds of admiring students from afar. “Henry Head doing gaits was a perennial attraction.” In 1903, with the assistance of Sherren …