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Richard Hobson, M.D.

Click to enlargeRichard Hobson, M.D. He was a close friend of the Squire until they had a row about three years before Waterton's death. The Squire's reputation after his death was damaged by the actions of two men: his son, Edmund, who managed to lose the Walton Hall estate within a short space of time, whilst losing or destroying many of the Squire's artefacts, papers, journals, museum specimens, etc.; and Dr. Richard Hobson, whose book (*) ensured that the image of the Squire as a dotty eccentric would outshine his qualities as a naturalist, traveller and benevolent member of the 19th century gentry.

* Charles Waterton: His Home, Habits and Handiwork. Reminiscences of an Intimate and Most Confiding Personal Association for Nearly Thirty Years.
by Richard Hobson MD, 2nd Edition, "Containing a Considerable Amount of Additional Material", i.e. the good doctor expanded upon the first edition, 1867, Whittaker & Co.; Simpkin, Marshall & Co. London, H.W. Walker and John Smith, Leeds. The 1st edition was published in 1866.

Click to enlargeRichard Hobson was Honorary Physician at the Leeds General Infirmary from 1832 to 1839.

Click to enlargePark Place, Leeds in 2012. Dr. Hobson once lived in this street.

Dictionary of National Biography, 1891.Dictionary of National Biography, p.51.

HOBSON, RICHARD, M.D. (1795–1868), physician, was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland, in 1795.

After school education he was sent to study medicine at St. George's Hospital, London. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and finally deciding to become a physician, went to Queens' College, Cambridge, and there graduated M.B. in 1825, M.D. in 1830.

In 1831 he settled in practice in Leeds, and on 30 Sept. 1833 was elected physician to the infirmary there, a post which he resigned in 1843. During this period he published in the ‘Medical Gazette’ some notes on diabetes, and on the external use of croton oil.

His tastes led him to frequent the turf. He belonged to the Harewood coursing club, bred racehorses, and hunted with the Bramham hunt. For a short time he kept a pack of harriers.

He had some knowledge of natural history, and in 1836 became acquainted with Charles Waterton, the naturalist, who lived at Walton Hall, about twelve miles from Leeds. Here Hobson became a frequent visitor and physician to the family. Waterton often wrote to him. Their intercourse ceased a few years before Waterton's death.

While it lasted Hobson states that he showed Waterton a memoir which he had written of the naturalist. This statement was not believed at Walton Hall, and the book, ‘Charles Waterton; his Home, Habits, and Handiwork,’ which Hobson published in 1866, contains abundant internal evidence that the statement about Waterton's approval of the manuscript is untrue.

Many of the stories in the book are false, the letters given have been altered, and the only faithful parts of the work are the engravings of Walton Hall, some of them drawn from photographs taken by Hobson himself.

A fall from his carriage made him an invalid, and while confined to the house he broke his thigh-bone, and died 29 Nov. 1868.

His wife, a daughter of Peter Rhodes of Leeds, did not long survive him. He had no children.

[Works; Lancet, 1868; information received at Walton Hall in 1864–5.]
Author: Norman Moore.

Wikisource web page: Dictionary of National Biography volume 27.djvu/58.
[site accessed 16 Nov 2017]

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