MB Lond 1874, MD 1878; MRCS 1873, FRCP 1890.
Ashby was born on 8 March 1846 in Surrey, the son of John and Charlotte Ashby. Being of a Quaker family, Ashby educated at the Ackworth Friends' School before pursuing a medical career. Ashby gained an international reputation as an expert on the diseases of children, and he was devoted to the welfare of poor children. He is well remembered for his text book, Diseases of Children Medical and Surgical, which he co-authored with George Arthur Wright. Ashby died in Didsbury on 6 July 1908 aged 63.
Ashby studied medicine in London, beginning his career at Guy's Hospital where he held various junior positions. In 1875 he was appointed demonstrator in anatomy and physiology at Liverpool School of Medicine and later assistant physician to the Liverpool Infirmary for Children, thus beginning his interest in diseases of children. In 1879 he moved to Manchester where he commenced private practice in Manchester and was appointed senior physician to the Manchester Hospital for Diseases of Children. Ashby was appointed lecturer on diseases of children at Owens College and Victoria University in 1881, and held this appointment until his death. Unusually for the time, he distributed printed notes at his lectures. Ashby was also honorary consulting physician to the School for Deaf and Dumb at Old Trafford and Sandlebridge School.
Ashby worked closely with many local associations and the Manchester Education Authority. He gave public talks about child rearing and disease prevention and played an important role in improving milk supplies in Manchester. Ashby was a member of the Pathological Society of London and an honorary member of the American Paediatric Society. Ashby played an important role in the Manchester medical societies at the time. He was Secretary to the Microscopical Section of the Manchester Medical Society (1879-1882) and later was the first President of the Manchester Pathological Society (1885-1886). From 1891-1892 Ashby was president of the Manchester Medico-Ethical Society, and finally, in 1896, he was president of Manchester Medical Society .