FRS 1872; FRCP Edin 1872; MD Edin 1862; FRCP 1896.
Gamgee's father, Joseph Gamgee, was a distinguished veterinary surgeon and pathologist, and his brother Sampson Gamgee was a surgeon in Birmingham. Arthur Gamgee was born in Florence in 1841 and was educated in London before entering Edinburgh University as a medical student. After graduating, he worked in the department of forensic medicine but continued to carry out research into physiological chemistry and was lecturer in physiology to the Edinburgh College of Surgeons. In 1872 Gamgee was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1871 Miss Hannah Brackenbury gave £10,000 towards the establishment of a medical department in connection with Owens College Manchester, some of which was devoted to the endowment of the Brackenbury Chair of Physiology and Histology, the post to which Gamgee was appointed in 1873.
There had been little formal teaching of physiology prior to this appointment, physiology lecturers being practising physicians. Gamgee intended to make Owens College a place for research and published a text-book on physiology, a work which greatly improved both his and the College's reputation. Gamgee was instrumental in the formation of the Victoria University of Manchester. Gamgee resigned his professorship in 1885 and embarked as a physician to the Manchester Consumption Hospital, later assistant physician to St George's Hospital. Gamgee was made emeritus professor in 1889 and was awarded an honorary DSc from the University of Manchester in 1908. Gamgee died on 29 March 1909.