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Henry Head1 was born of Quaker stock on 4 August 1861 at 6 Park Road, Stoke Newington. Educated at Charterhouse and Trinity College, Cambridge (1st class in both parts of Natural Science Tripos),2 he chose to study medicine, influenced by his mother’s cousin, Marcus Beck, who had been Joseph Lister’s assistant. After Cambridge, he worked in Prague with Ewald Hering (1834–1918) (of the Hering Brewer reflex) on respiratory physiology, acquiring fluency in both French and German. Head returned to University College Hospital, qualifying in 1890. He worked at Queen Square under Thomas Buzzard (1831–1919), 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, and later physician at the London Hospital, where his gifts as a teacher were quickly appreciated. His study of herpes zoster with AW Campbell (1868–1937)3 led to his depiction of dermatomal sensory localisation, based on 450 cases and 21 autopsies. Otfrid …
Competing interests: None.