Dr John Henry Bell

Dr John Henry Bell
Dr John Henry Bell
Dr John Henry Bell
Portrait of Dr John Henry Bell.

Sowden's note in notebook -
'Was born in Bradford in 1832 and the first five years of his life were passed at Birks Hall which belonged to his grandfather. His early education was obtained at the parish school of Ainworth (Hainworth?). He was later at Child's Academy, Bfd., and at Denton Park. It was decided that he should enter the medical profession & he was placed under Dr Coone of Thornton. Whilst there he became Secretary of the Thornton Mechanics' Institute and of Kipping Chapel. In 1852 Mr Bell went to reside with Dr Milnthorpe of Topcliffe, Ripon, a county practitioner who was himself a deep student. In 1854 Mr Bell removed to Leeds and took up his residence with Dr Braithwaite as professional assistant. He also took a share in the hospital practice at Leeds General Infirmary. In 1857 he commenced practice in Bradford. The Dr became prominently before the public in October 1858 in connection with the remarkable case of poisoning in Bradford. By a mistake of the chemist, arsenic was supplied to a confectioner, with the result that 40 lbs of lozenges were made up. Five pounds of these sweets were sold on a Saturday night in the market, and within 24 hours, 225 persons were under treatment. During the Sunday afternoon and evening Dr Bell had some 60 patients to attend to and they were visited with the help of an assistant. In spite of all the efforts there was a death toll of 20. Dr Bell was identified with the Bradford Eye and Ear Hospital from the first years of his practice in Bradford and maintained the connection all his life, being consulting surgeon at that institution. He made a special study of what was known as `Miners nystugmus(???), of the early history of which he wrote an account of great value. Dr Bell was the first medical man appointed as consulting physician to the Bradford infirmary. Perhaps the most important work with which Dr Bell was associated, was the investigation of anthrax, known as woolsorter's disease, to the close study of which he devoted many years. The first case occurred in June 1877 and it proved fatal in 16 hours. Dr Bell studied the various forms of the disease, called public attention to it, by reading papers on it which were published in `The Lancet' & `The British Medical Journal' and to him is undoubtedly due the credit of rousing attention to the fatal disease and for the introduction of precautions for rendering the wool less dangerous. He was the author of `Anthrax' in Albutt's `System of Medecine' and `Anthrax in its Relation to the Wool Industry' and his position generally on the subject was recognised in the medical profession and others closely concerned in the Anthrax problems as one of the highest authority. In 1859 Dr Bell was appointed medical officer for the West district of the Bradford Union, a position which he retained to the time of his death. In 1872-3 he was the President of the Bfd Medico-Chirurgical Society. He was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons & a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (Leeds 1857) & took his degree as M.D. (St. Andrews) in 1861. He married in 1860 Miss Holgate & died in 1906 leaving a widow, one son and four daughters.'
John Sowden
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