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Dr William H. Brotherton

Dr William H. Brotherton

Person  Male  Born 18/2/1831  Died 1882

Categories: Medicine

Lived in and ran his medical practice from a house at 289, Cambridge Heath Road.

BMJ 19 March 1864 reports: "APOTHECARIES' HALL. On March 10th, the following Licentiates were admitted:- Brotherton, William Heniry, Bethnal Green Road". This gave him the qualification Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians.

We found this Facebook page where Phil refers to his great-grandfather in 1866 commencing "... a 5 year apprenticeship with a surgeon by the name of William Henry Brotherton at 289 Cambridge Heath Road ..."

We were delighted to find Brotherton quoted in the proceedings at the Old Bailey in February 1872 in the case of Amelia Portbury (29) for the wilful murder of Julia Aria, the accused's mother, in Park House, Approach Road E9. The victim was 70 years old and, according to the 12-year old son of the accused, who gave evidence, a regular rum-drinker. Brotherton had attended the victim prior to the incident and also carried out a post mortem examination. His report on the state of the victim's liver contradicted the story that she was "a person who has indulged in drink". Nonetheless the verdict was not guilty.

Shortly after publishing this memorial we discovered more information:

Mike Coleman found an entry in the UK and Ireland Medical Directory (1870) which reads: “Brotherton, William H., 496, Bethnal Green Road, N.E. – L.R.C.P. Edin. And L.M. 1865; M.R.C.S. Eng. 1861; L.S.A. 1864; (Univ. Coll.); Mem. Med. Soc. Univ. Coll. and Beaumont Med. Soc.; Med. Off. 7th Dist. Bethnal Green; Surg. Q. Adelaide’s Disp.; Med. Off. Odd Fells. and other Socs.”

The address given, 496 Bethnal Green Road, is annoying since, on current maps, it doesn’t exist – the railway slices through the space between 492 and 502. This 1868 map shows the railway drawn in - it opened in 1872. So, it seems that in 1870 Brotherton was living in a condemned house and shortly after moved around the corner to a property that backed onto a railway line, all rather odd for someone of his status (all those qualifications). Also, another source (the Facebook page referenced above) places him in the Cambridge Heath Road address in 1866, which is contradictory, or he had two addresses, close together.

A Bethnal Green Directory Listing for 1882 lists Brotherton still at the Cambridge Heath Road.

Mike Coleman found a date of death as the 2nd quarter of 1882 but also some references which suggested Brotherton’s date of birth was not the 1840 on the plaque. We asked our colleague, Andrew Behan, to try and resolve this issue. He writes: “Despite what it shows on the plaque, I make the year of his birth as 1831, 18 February 1831 to be precise.

I started with the probate records that showed his widow to be a Mary Ann Brotherton. Checking marriage records I found a William Henry Brotherton, who gave his occupation as a chemist and residing in Islington, marrying a Mary Ann Emms on 8 October 1856 at St John's Church, Islington. His father was shown as a John Brotherton. When they applied on 29 September 1856 for a licence for this marriage they both formally declared that they were 'aged twenty-one years and upwards'. If this William Henry Brotherton was 21 years or more in 1856 he could not have been born in 1840.

Using the ages showed on the 1871 and 1881 censuses and the death index of 1882 (found by Mike Coleman), you get a date of birth as about 1830/31 and lo and behold I found a Christening Record that showed a William Henry Brotherton being christened on 28 October 1832 at Old Church, St Pancras, London. His parents were shown as a John & Ann Brotherton and he was recorded as being born on 18 February 1831. Not conclusive of course, but what are the chances of two William Henry Brotherton's being born at this time and residing in London with a father called John, (the same as that is recorded on his marriage certificate)? I think this is a far better date than just the 1840 shown on the plaque.“

And lastly, Andrew points out that The Hunt House shows that Cambridge Road become Cambridge Heath Road sometime between 1929 and 1945.

Mike, Andrew and all of us are now Brothertoned out and the file is closed (unless you can conclusively answer some of the outstanding queries, or have something really interesting, like a photograph?)

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Dr William H. Brotherton

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Dr William Brotherton

Our researches (see Brotherton's page) show that his dates are 1831 - 1882. W...

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