Ancestors of Dr Thomas(Tom) Wakley MP


picture Dr Thomas(Tom) Wakley MP

      Sex: M

Individual Information
          Birth: 11 Jul 1795 - Land Farm, Membury, Devon.
    Christening: 1795
          Death: 16 May 1862 - Madeira
         Burial: in Catacombs, Kensal Green Anglican Church, London.
 Cause of Death: 
           AFN : 

• Occupation
• Founder
• Practised medicine, Bedford Square, West End, London in West End, London
• Practised medicine, Newport Street, off the Strand, London off the Strand, London
• Member of Parlamient, , for Finsbury in for Finsbury
• Apprenticed to an apothacary, , Taunton in Taunton
• Qualified as a surgeon in London
• Buried with wife and daughter., , 1862 in 1862

         Father: Henry Wakley
         Mother: Mary Minifie

Spouses and Children
1. *Elizabeth Goodchild(Maybe Goldsmith)
       Marriage: 1820 - St James Church, Piccadily
                1. Dr Thomas Henry Wakley
                2. Dr James Goodchild Wakley MP
                3. Dr Thomas(Young Tom) Wakley

Was very instrumental in getting legislation passed for the registration of doctors.
He founded "The Lancet" a medical journal.
Editor of the Lancet from 1823 to 1862.Followed in this capacity by 2 of his 3 sons who ran the journal for 85 years.
Supported the cause of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in Parliament.
Helped to found Epsom College.
There is a blue plaque on his house in Bedford Square,London.
MP for Finsbury constituency.
Further Information can be found at Wikipedia Ref

Wakley, Thomas (1795-1862), medical journalist , Doctor and Coroner and politician, was born on 11 July 1795 at Land Farm, Membury, Devon, the youngest son in the family of eleven children of Henry Wakley (1750-1842), a prosperous farmer, and his wife, Mary, n้e Minifie. He went to good grammar schools at Chard and Honiton (*went to sea as a cabin Boy for a year at age 11) ….

…“Personal life
Despite his personal historical visibility and the continuing importance of the journal he founded, Wakley remains enigmatic. He was ever indignant at social or political injustice, and he never lost his concern for the plight of the ordinary individual. He hated cant and humbug, which endeared him to Charles Dickens. At the same time he was personally ambitious, with a highly developed sense of his own worth. He maintained a home in Bedford Street, London, which was burn down and an estate, Harefield Park, and entertained lavishly, even while remaining abstemious himself. He seemed addicted to the rough and tumble of turbulent public life, but he remained a devoted family man. A lifelong radical, he was also an active Anglican. His wife's ( daughter of Goodchild-Governor at St Thomas's ) death in 1857 affected him deeply. A daughter died young, but he was intensely proud and supportive of his three sons. Two of these, Thomas Henry Wakley (1821-1907) and James Goodchild Wakley (1827-1886), followed him into medical journalism, continuing The Lancet as a family business until the twentieth century. The middle son, Henry Membury, became a barrister and deputized for his father as a coroner.

Wakley was a large man with enormous energy, who routinely worked sixteen-hour days. In his early life he acquired fame as an accomplished boxer. In 1851, following a strenuous day involving seven inquests and attendance at the House of Commons until midnight, he was found unconscious outside the Lancet office, where he had gone to continue working. This episode convinced Wakley to slow down, and although he left parliament, he retained the coronership and The Lancet, which his sons joined him in editing. Their take-over was probably gradual, and Wakley retained the official editorship until his death.

In the late 1850s Wakley enjoyed a brief period of better health, and he contemplated running again for parliament. However, in late 1860, signs of active pulmonary tuberculosis supervened. He spent the winter of 1861-2 in Madeira, where his lungs began to heal. He had made arrangements to return to England, but on 11 May 1862 he slipped on the beach, the haemoptysis recurred, and he died on 16 May. His embalmed body was brought back for burial beside his wife and daughter in Kensal Green cemetery on 14 June.

W. F. BYNUM (Oxford University Press)

Head of Chard School - Paul Cawley-Wakefield 01460 63234
Chairman Old Cerdics Association - Graham Chamberlain 07967 860780

To mark the 85th anniversary of the Old Cerdics Association former pupils of Chard School will be presenting the school with a framed portrait of one of their most famous sons THOMAS WAKLEY (1795-1862), one of the most influential social and medical reformers of the 19th century :-
The presentation will take place at Chard School at 10.00am on Monday 23rd March and the portrait will be unveiled by The Rt.Hon.David Laws MP, Minister for Schools,before the whole school community and the Deputy Editor of 'The Lancet' Dr.Astrid James.The Mayor of Chard, Councillor Mrs Jenny Kenton and surviving members of the Wakley family will also be present.


THOMAS WAKLEYwas a truly remarkable man for which there is little public recognition apart from a bust in the offices of 'The Lancet'. Born in Membury, Devon in 1795 he attended Chard School in Somerset. After school he trained as a pharmacist in Taunton and 'walked' to London where he qualified as a surgeon.It was not long before his conflicts with the medical establishment began that led to the founding of 'The Lancet'.

THE LANCET - 'The Lancet', named appropriately after a surgical instrument and a window to illuminate,aimed to tackle corruption in medicine. Among its many campaigns was the exposition of mishaps at London teaching hospitals; the proper supply of bodies for dissection; the establishment of a register for medical practitioners; raising the standard of coroner's inquests; tackling the adulteration of food; fraudulent medical practices and serious failings of the Poor Law.From a few copies in 1823 'The Lancet' is now acknowledged as the leading authoritative medical journal with a global reach world-wide delivering latest medical news and clinical research. It has editorial offices in London, New York and Beijing.

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT- Thomas Wakley became a radical Member of Parliament for Finsbury with no particular political allegiance, a seat he was to hold for nearly 20 years. He was a conscientious attender making over 900 contributions to debates in the House of Commons. Wakley's political interests extended far beyond the medical, he favoured free trade, supported the repeal of the Irish Act of Union and the abolition of slavery.

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