Ernest Bosdin Leech

Scope and Content

The majority of the manuscripts formerly owned by Leech relate to medical education in Manchester and the broad scope of their content reflects his collecting practices and commitment to forming a strong bibliographic resource for the history of medicine in Manchester.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest Bosdin Leech (1875-1950) was born at Stretford, near Manchester, on 9 April 1875 and was the son of Sir Bosdin Thomas Leech (1836-1912), renowned for his work on the Manchester Ship Canal, and also the nephew of Daniel John Leech (1840-1900), the first Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Manchester. He received his early education at St Edmunds' School in Hunstanton and at Cheltenham College before going on to Christ's College, Cambridge in 1894. Early inclinations to study for the church were soon put aside in favour of medicine and after receiving his BA from Cambridge he returned to Manchester where he qualified in medicine in 1901 and gained his MD in 1907.

Following qualification he held a number of resident posts at the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). He also spent a short time on the staff of the Ancoats Hospital until he was elected as assistant physician to the MRI in 1913. During WWI he served in the RAMC, firstly attached to the Worsley Red Cross Hospital and then spending time in France, India, and Mesopotamia. In 1921 he became full physician at the MRI and eventually a consulting physician in 1935 until his retirement in 1938. He also acted as physician to the Christie Hospital during his career.

Leech was particularly known for his efforts in the assistance of the relocation of the MRI from Piccadilly Gardens to its new premises on Oxford Road. He also had a reputation as an enthusiastic teacher and was a lecturer in pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Manchester, and he himself held a particular interest in digestive diseases and pharmacology.

Leech was heavily involved with the Manchester Medical Society and acted as secretary from 1911 to 1918 in addition to serving as president in 1934, notable for being the Society's centenary year. He had a considerable interest in Manchester's medical history and devoted a great deal of time to the Society's library and to amassing material relating to the history of Manchester's medical profession, which now constitutes the Manchester Medical Collection (MMC ), held by the University of Manchester Library. In conjunction with the centenary celebrations he gave his presidential address on the subject of Manchester medical history. As well as his interest in medical history he was also an enthusiastic local and family historian, president of the Manchester Ancient Monuments Society and a member of the Lancashire Parish Register Society.

In 1916 he married Mary Barker (née Walder) (1881-1963) and together they had two daughters. Leech died at his home in Manchester on 19 September 1950 at the age of 75.

Related Material

Chetham's Library, Manchester hold the Leech Family Papers which include several diaries belonging Ernest Bosdin Leech including childhood diaries, accounts of his trip to Europe in 1909, and his experiences as a medical officer during the first world war.


W. Brockbank The Honorary Medical Staff of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1830-1948 Manchester 1965. G.H. Brown 'Ernest Bosdin Leech' Munk's Roll Volume IV p.565. Elwood & Tuxford Some Manchester Doctors Manchester 1984. 'Obituary: Ernest Bosdin Leech' The Lancet 1950 2(6631) p.460.