- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Henry Ancell

Born  1802-01-02
Died  1863-11-19

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British physician, born January 2, 1802, Croydon; died November 19, 1863.

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.”


  • Course of Lectures on the Physiology and Pathology of the Blood and Other Animal Fluids, Delivered in the Session of 1839-40, at the School of Anatomy adjoining St. George’s Hospital.
    Published in The Lancet, London, 1839-1840.
    German translation by Louis Posner (1815-1868), 1844, as Physiologie und Pathologie des Blutes.
  • [Liebig’s Thierchemie und ihre Gegner u. s. w.].
    Annotated German translation by A. W. Krug, Pest, 1844. Ancell took a particular interest in Liebig’s doctrines.
  • A treatise on tuberculosis, the constitutional origin of consumption and scrofula.
    779 pages. London, Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1852. An encyclopedia of the topic. Obituaries:
  • British Medical Journal, London, 1863, II: 588.
  • Medical Times and Gazette, London, 1863, II, page 601.
"Course of Lectures on the Physiology and Pathology of the Blood and Other Animal Fluids," etc. Some of the lectures: 1. Introductory Lecture. Views of Hippocrates and Galen. Pathology of the fluids. Fallacy of hypotheses in medicine. Pages 41 to 50. 2. The vitality of the blood. The chyle and its varieties. Pages 145 to 155. 3. Composition of the blood. Gases in the blood. The properties of albumen. Fibrine in the blood. Pages 222 to 231. 4. Various topics. Pages 307 to 317. 5. Sizes of the blood Corpuscles. Structure of the blood corpuscles. Colour of the blood corpuscles. Corpuscles of the blood. Motion of the blood Corpuscles. Pages 377 to 387. 6. Coagulated blood. Coagulation of the blood. Pages 457 to 465. 7. Substances in the blood. Coagulation of the blood. Pages 522 to 530. 8. On the serum and the clot in the blood. On the gravity of the blood in hæmorrhage. The colouring matters of the blood. The odorous principles of the blood. Pages 601 to 610. 9. Portal and fætal blood. Arterial and venous blood. The colour of the blood. Pages 681 to 688. 10. The colours of the blood. Arterial and venous blood. Gases in the blood. Effects of respiration on the blood. Pages 745 to 752. 11. Animal heat. Pages 825 to 831. 12. The fluids separated from the blood. The properties on the urine. The principles of the urine. 13. On the urine. The salts of urine. Bodies in the urine. Pages 1-8. 14. On the secretions. On mucous secretions. The gastric juice. Pages 65-74. 15. The lymphatic fluids. The menstrual secretion. The milk and urine. On nutrition. Pages 149-157. 16. Circulation and quantity of the blood. Hyperæmia and anæmia. General anæmia. Pages –257-264.

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