Harrison's autobiographical writings offer a wider picture of life in Manchester for a 19th century doctor. Whilst liberal reference is made to medical events and colleagues there is also considerable focus on national and international events as well as aspects of his personal and family life.
James Bower Harrison
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- ReferenceGB 133 MMM/11
- Dates of Creationn.d. [188-?]
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description3 items
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
James Bower Harrison (1814-1890) was born in 1814, the son of a Unitarian minister, Rev William Harrison, and was part of a large clerical family and also the cousin of novelist William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882). He was apprenticed to the Manchester surgeon William R. Whatton (1790-1835) and then continued his medical studies in Manchester and at University College Hospital, London. He qualified LSA in 1836 after which he was appointed Resident Assistant Physician to the Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was also Surgeon to the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary. On 7 July 1837 he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and was elected a Fellow on 21 October 1852. He was awarded the MD from St Andrew's University in 1856 and also became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1859.
Harrison successfully established a large practice and in 1847 is known to have been operating from premises at 4 Old Roman Road, Bury New Road. An Obstetrical Society of Manchester was inaugurated in 1860 where Harrison was appointed one of its first vice-presidents alongside Edward Stephens (1804-1863). He published extensively during his career, including such studies as Popular Medical Errors (1851), Medical Aspects of Death and of the Human Mind (1852), On the Contamination of Water by Lead (1852), and Familiar Lectures on the Diseases of Children (1862). Many of his works were specifically aimed at laymen. He campaigned for the introduction of medical inspections to certain trades and manufactories and his efforts were significant in bringing about a Government inquiry into the condition of children employed in unhealthy occupations. This led to the Factory Act of 1847.
He married Catherine Evans, the only daughter of Shaw Evans of Chester, at Chester on 27 May 1857. Harrison died at The Mount, Higher Broughton, Manchester on 2 January 1890.