Biography of Henry Ancell
At the age of 16 Henry Ancell was apprenticed to a physician in Suffolk, remaining there for four years, before he went to Edinburgh to spend a winter attending medical lectures. In 1823 he left England, stayed for two years in North America, and returned to England in 1825. He joined his brother, who owned a pharmacy, in a partnership and during this time attended lectures at the St. George’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals in London, and also spent some months in Paris to visit the hospitals. After completing his medical studies he settled as a practitioner in London’s West End. In 1836 he became a surgeon at the Western General Dispensary, and until the year 1848 lectured on materia medica, therapy and forensic medicine at the medical school belonging to the St. George’s Hospital, later also teaching forensic medicine at the medical school in the St. Mary’s Hospital.
During the years 1853 and 1854 Ancell contributed several treatises on tuberculosis to the British Medical Journal, and several articles on the pathological conditions of the blood to Cooper’s Surgical Dictionary.
Besides his scientific activity Ancell was secretary to the National Association of General Practitioners, and the National Institute derived from that organization. He was one of the first members of the city branch of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association, established in 1853, and took a strong interest in the parliamentary medical reform.
In the introduction to Lancet 1839-40 Ancell's course of lectures on the animal fluids was presented thus by the editors: ”This course will comprise all those facts relating to the animal fluids which have been discovered since the time of Cullen by British and continental physiologists and will explain the influence which their discoveries should have on the Theory and Practice of Medicine. These lectures, from the great attention which Mr. Ancell has for many years paid to Humoral Pathology, and his complete acquaintance with the labours of modern writers on this subject, will form a very desirable work of reference and information.”