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Lambe, William (1765-1847) (DNB00)

LAMBE, WILLIAM (1766–1847), physician, son of Lacon Lambe, an attorney, was born at Warwick on 26 Feb. 1765. He was educated at Hereford grammar school and St. John's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.D. (as fourth wrangler) in 1786, M.B. in 1789, and M.D. in 1802. He was admitted a fellow of his college on 11 March 1788. In 1790 he succeeded to the practice of a friend, Dr. Landon of Warwick, and in the same year published his ‘Analyses of the Leamington Water.’ The results of further minute chemical examination of these waters were published by him in the fifth volume of the ‘Transactions’ of the Philosophical Society of Manchester. Removing to London about 1800, Lambe was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians on 22 Dec. 1804. He held both the censorship and Croonian lectureship on several occasions between 1806 and 1828, and he was Harveian orator in 1818. His London practice being neither very large nor remunerative, Lambe resided a short distance from town, but retained a consulting room in King's (now Theobald's) Road, Bedford Row, where he attended three times a week. Many of his patients were needy people, from whom he would accept no fees. Lambe was accounted an eccentric by his contemporaries, mainly on the ground that he was a strict, though by no means fanatical, vegetarian. His favourite prescription was filtered water. He retired from practice about 1840, and died at Dilwyn on 11 June 1847. He was buried in the family vault in the churchyard of that parish. William Lacon Lambe, Lambe's son, born at Warwick in 1797, was a Tancred student and scholar on the foundation of Caius College, Cambridge, whence he graduated M.B. in 1820.

Besides the work mentioned above Lambe wrote:

  1. ‘Researches into the Properties of Spring Water, with Medical Cautions against the use of Lead in Water Pipes, Pumps, Cisterns,’ &c., 1803, 8vo.
  2. ‘A Medical and Experimental Enquiry into the Origin, Symptoms, and Cure of Constitutional Diseases, particularly Scrofula, Consumption, Cancer, and Gout,’ 1805, 8vo; republished, with notes and additions by J. Shew, New York, 1854.
  3. ‘Reports of the Effects of a Peculiar Regimen on Scirrhous Tumours and Cancerous Ulcers,’ 1809, 8vo. The British Museum copy contains a manuscript letter from the author to Lord Erskine, and some remarks upon the work by the latter.
  4. ‘Additional Reports on the Effects of a Peculiar Regimen,’ &c., London, 1815, 8vo. Extracts from these two works, with a preface and notes by E. Hare, and written in the corresponding style of phonography by I. Pitman, were published at Bath in 1869, 12mo.
  5. ‘An Investigation of the Properties of Thames Water,’ London, 1828, 8vo.

[Munk's Coll. of Phys. iii. 17–18; Baker's St. John's College, i. 310; Graduati Cantabr. p. 280; Caius College Register; Lives of British Physicians, 1857, p. 406; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.