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James Crichton-Browne1 was born in Edinburgh, the son of Dr WAF Browne, first superintendent of Crichton Royal, Dumfries. James was educated in Dumfries and began his medical studies at Edinburgh University in 1857, a pupil of Joseph Lister (1827–1912) and James Syme (1799–1879).
His interests in psychiatry were soon evident. As a medical student he read a paper to the Royal Medical Society, The psychical diseases of early life. Crichton-Browne graduated in 1861, and obtained the MD in 1862. He worked in asylums in Derby, Devon, and Newcastle. In 1866, at the early age of 26, he was appointed as Superintendent Medical Director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum at Wakefield, and in nine years established the hospital as a leading centre of research and treatment. Though lacking Ferrier’s scientific ability, he …