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  • Dr Thomas Spencer COBBOLD MD FRS FLS

    Born1828 Ipswich, Suffolk
    Died1886 74 Portsdown Rd, Paddington, London
    FatherRev. Richard COBBOLD (1797 – 1877)
    MotherMary Anne WALLER (1801 – 1876)
    OccupationParasitologist and Helminthologist

    Biography and Notes

    Thomas Spencer was born in Ipswich in May 1828, 3rd. son of Rev. Richard Cobbold (of Margaret Catchpole fame) and Mary Anne Waller, allegedly descended from Edmond Waller the poet.

    He was schooled at Charterhouse and apprenticed at 16 to J.G.Crosse, a surgeon in Norwich who helped develop Thomas Spencer's bent towards Natural History and particularly his interest in comparative anatomy as a result of which he became a skilled dissector. In 1851 he graduated MD gold medalist from Edinburgh University which was the start of a career in research rather than practice, but of the greatest diversity.

    Later, he was vice-president of the University Club; vice-president of the Birmingham Natural History & Microscopial Society; corresponding member of the Acadamy of Science at Philadelphia and the Royal Agricultural Acadamy in Turin. He became Professor of Botany and Helminthology at the Royal Vetinery College and Emeritus Swiney Professor of Geology at the British Museum and was for some time examiner in comparative anatomy, zoology and botany at St.Mary's Hospital and lecturer in the same three disciplines at the Middlesex.

    He never lost his loyalty to his alma mater becoming the curator of the Anatomical Museum at Edinburgh and senior president and vice-president of the Royal Medical Society and the Physiological Society respectively. As well as being a clear if dogmatic lecturer and a much enjoyed after dinner singer he was the author of numerous works on Helminthology and in an unexpected change of direction he practiced in Wimpole St. and later in Harley St. for ten years.

    He died at home at the relatively early age of 57 from heart desease in part occasioned by over work.

    Note: The Cobbold FHT has copies of many of his works, including his contribution to The Museum of Natural History (1860)

    Anthony Cobbold 2006

    Life Events

    1852Married Frances Phillippa AMYS in Palgrave, Suffolk
    1852Birth of son Dr. Charles Spencer Waller COBBOLD MD FRCPE MRCSE
    1854Birth of daughter Mary Ann COBBOLD
    1855Birth of daughter Gertrude COBBOLD
    1857Birth of daughter Ellen COBBOLD
    1858Birth of daughter Kate COBBOLD
    1860Birth of daughter Edith Caroline COBBOLD
    1861Death of daughter Edith Caroline COBBOLD
    1862Birth of son Fredrick Forbs COBBOLD
    1865Birth of son Arthur Murray COBBOLD
    1876Death of mother Mary Anne WALLER
    1877Death of father Rev. Richard COBBOLD
    1879Death of son Fredrick Forbs COBBOLD