An Autobiographical Sketch

Scope and Content

Harrison's autobiography, for which the title page reads 'An Autobiographical Sketch of the chief incidents of my life to the year 1871'. In a brief introduction he mentions how he once kept a diary which he has since destroyed and has instead tried to put together details of his life before they escape his memory.

Beginning with his birth on 4 July 1814 he talks of his early life and family, makes reference to Peterloo and having some vague recollection of it, his schooling, his mother's death, choosing of the medical profession, his apprenticeship to William Whatton (1790-1835), his medical training and subsequent work at the Manchester Royal Infirmary as a physician's clerk (where he talks of Samuel Gaskell (1807-1886) the house apothecary, his fellow clerks Charles Redfern, John Yorke Wood, and John Kendrick, fellow student William Furnival (d.1854), and house surgeons John Lomas and William Smith (1816-1875)), commencement of private practice, visit to the Lake District, railway mania in 1845, friendship with Richard Baron Howard (1807-1848), joining of the Manchester Medical Society, the insanity of former Manchester Infirmary apprentice William Cardwell Beatty, trip to Paris, visit to North Wales with engineer Richard Roberts (1789-1864), being called to the scene of a murder suicide, appointment as demonstrator of anatomy at Chatham Street School, attendance of the Great Exhibition, his marriage and the birth of his children, professional publications, the great flood in Salford in 1862, reference to execution of the Fenian prisoners at New Bailey prison (Manchester Martyrs), a train accident at Abergele, and other life events such as the death of his father.

Three illustrations have been inserted, namely a silhouette of James Kendrick 1837 on f.26v, a silhouette of John Kendrick on f.27v, and a print of Ecole de Medicine, Paris on f.58v.