John Haighton's Physiology Lectures at Guy's Hospital

Scope and Content

The volume has the original pagination pp.1-696, writing is largely on the recto only with occasional notes on the verso, and there is an index in the rear. Lectures on the whole are not numbered or clearly demarcated but clear subject headings are given and the lecture series commenced on 19 February 1812.

The subjects covered according to the index are as follows: acidity of the stomach, actions of the stomach, animal kingdom, animal heat, suspended animation, amenorrhoea, arteries, anasarca [oedema], modus operandi of bark, digestion organs of birds, bile, properties of blood, transmission of blood in the lungs, the brain, comparison of the three kingdoms of nature, comparison of digestive organs of different animals, chylefaction, absorption of chyle, modus operandi of chalybeates, circulation of the blood, chlorosis [hypochromic anaemia], differences between animals and vegetables as regard the vital principles, deglutition, digestion, dropsy [oedema], expulsion of the faeces, expectoration, Dr Fordyce's experiments on temperature, fish more digestible than animal food, gastric juice, ganglion, generation, growth, the heart, imperforate hymen, hunger, incontinence, kidneys, male organs, menstruation, mastication, mesenteric glands, miscarriage [spontaneous abortion], mineral kingdoms, muscular motion, nourishment by glyster, nerves, oedema, pancreatic juice, peristaltic motion of the intestines, structure of the penis, purgatives, pulse of arteries, respiration, retention of urine, senses, sensation, secretion, spleen, structure of the stomach, sympathy, testes, teeth, throat, thoracic duct, temperature of the blood, valves, varicose swellings, vegetable kingdom, veins, vital principles, vomiting, and urine.

The volume bears the bookplate of the Manchester Medical Society which indicates that it was donated to them by Thomas Windsor on 25 June 1877 where it was subsequently allocated the reference GO 3824 viz. their 1890 library catalogue. A note on the flyleaf made by the author reads 'John Windsor, No.2 Plough Court, Lombard Street, July 1811'.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Haighton was born around the year 1755 in Lancashire and studied at St Thomas's Hospital, London under Joseph Else (d.1780). He spent a time as surgeon to the guards before resigning in favour of a role as demonstrator of anatomy at St Thomas's under Henry Cline (1750-1827). Competition with Astley Paston Cooper led to Haighton resigning his role as demonstrator in 1789 in favour of lecturing in midwifery and physiology at St Thomas's and Guy's Hospitals. He at times lectured in midwifery in conjunction with William Lowder and was assisted in his lectures between 1814 and 1818 by his nephew James Blundell (1791-1878), who eventually took over.

Haighton was awarded the silver medal of the London Medical Society for a paper on deafness, received his MD from Kings College, Aberdeen in 1794, was joint editor of Medical Records and Researches in 1798, and in 1815 became a fellow of the Royal Society. He published a number of papers during his career on topics such as vomiting, nerves, mathematics, and astronomy in addition to assisting William Saunders in his 1793 Treatise on the Liver. Haighton suffered greatly from asthma in his later years and died on 23 March 1823.


G.T. Bettany, 'Haighton, John (c.1755-1823)', rev. Caroline Overv, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University press, 2004 [, accessed 28 June 2016].