Birmingham’s First Coroner – Dr John Birt Davies

I work at Birmingham University Medical School and I thought this piece about Birmingham’s first Coroner John Birt Davies might be of interest

The Iron Room

Portrait of Dr John Birt Davies (Ref: Edgbastonia Vol II No. 11. 15 March 1882) Portrait of Dr John Birt Davies (Ref: Edgbastonia Vol II No. 11. 15 March 1882)

Whilst researching for an upcoming presentation on Coroners Records at Who Do You Think You Are? Live at the NEC in April I found myself being sidetracked  (a common occurrence!) by Dr John Birt Davies – the first Birmingham Coroner.

Born in the, improbably named, village of Nateley Scures, Hampshire in 1799, he studied medicine at Edinburgh graduating in 1822. He moved to Birmingham shortly afterwards and his first hospital role was that of physician to the General Dispensary (MS 1759/1/1/1 Birmingham General Dispensary Committee minutes 1794-1840). He became heavily involved in local politics as a Liberal and this may have been the reason behind his failure to secure a position at the General Hospital. He founded a Fever Hospital at the Bath House, Bath Row where he attended the only case of Asiatic cholera in Birmingham…

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