Dr Nicholas Cambridge

Honorary Research Fellow in Humanities and Medical History


Honorary Research Fellow in Humanities and Medical History

Nicholas-CambridgeNicholas Cambridge qualified as an electrical engineer in 1970 and then decided to become a doctor. He qualified from The Middlesex Hospital in 1977 and as a student won the first history of medicine prize offered by the Royal Society of Medicine. After a variety of clinical posts Nicholas became a family GP in Surrey for twenty-five years. Whilst still running a busy practice he obtained his MD in medical history working part-time at The Wellcome Trust Centre of the History of Medicine at UCL. He later retired in order to pursue his interests in medical history further. He has published in the journals of the various societies with which he is involved and where he has lectured.


  • MD, University of London
  • MRCS LRCP, London
  • FSA
  • FRSA
  • FLS
  • HNC Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Research Interests

  • Charles Dickens and the medical world
  • 19th-century public health
  • medical electricity
  • medical interests and histories of famous people including Samuel Johnson, Erasmus Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, and John Coakley-Lettsom

External Roles

  • Chairman, The Medical Society of London 250th Celebrations Committee
  • Chairman, Erasmus Darwin Foundation
  • Chairman, William Shipley Group for Royal Society of Arts History
  • Chairman, Charles Bell Group (to preserve the legacy of The Middlesex Hospital)
  • Hon. Editor and Trustee, The Medical Society of London
  • Vice-President, Johnson Society of London
  • Honorary Archivist, Croydon Medical Society (founded 1832)
  • Dr T J (Jock) Murray Visiting Scholar in Medical Humanities, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (2017)

Contact Details

Recent Publications

  • Jonathan Charles Goddard and Nicholas Cambridge, “The Death of Charles Dickens’s Father”, De Historia Urologiae Europaeae, March 2020,Vol.27, pp.60-71, ISBN/EAN 978-94-92671-09-7.  Read the book 
  • Nicholas Cambridge and Stanley Gelbier, “Charles Dickens his teeth and his dentist, Samuel Cartwright Junior”, Dental Historian, Number 64 (1), January 2019, pp.12-17, ISBN 2370000630711
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Bleak Health: Charles Dickens’s Medical History Revisited”, The Dickensian (Summer 2018), No.505 Vol.114 Part 2, 117-133. ISSN 0012-2240. Read the Paper
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “The Undisputed Monarch of the English Stage: Garrick Symposium 2017”, The Johnson Society Transactions 2017, pp.50-54, ISSN 0306-5375
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Early Years and Walk to London” included in a booklet entitled “Undisputed Monarch of the English Stage: David Garrick (1717-1779)”. A Symposium, with 11 speakers, 106 pages, celebrating the Tercentenary of the birth of David Garrick. William Shipley Group for RSA History Occasional Paper 32 (2017), 7-13. ISBN: 978-0-244-91943-6.
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Sewage Treatment” (paper given at Sewerage and Health Symposium to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the death of Sir Joseph Bazalgette), William Shipley Group for RSA History Occasional Paper 31 (2017), 21-59. ISBN: 978-1-326-93445-3. Read the paper
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Archbishops, The East India Company and Public Health: Life as a Victorian GP”, Presidential Address, Transactions of the Medical Society of London, 131 (2014-15), pp. 1-13, ISBN No. 978-0-9928195-2-1
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “From the Slaughter House of Blood to Mr Pickwick: Charles Dickens and Medicine”, Hunterian Society Transactions vol. LXI (Session 2012-13), 13-28.  Read the article: Charles Dickens and Medicine
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Monks’s Medical Condition: A Note”, The Dickensian (Spring 2014), no.492 vol.110 part 1, 45-47.  Read the article: Monks’s Medical Condition
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “James Boswell, Dr John Coakley Lettsom and their Circle”, Boswell Society Journal (2014), 47-55.  Read about this article in our Publication of the week section (10 March 2014).
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Medicine, Science and Philanthropy: Fothergill, Lettsom, Priestley, Franklin and their Circle”. Lettsomian Lecture 2012, Transactions of the Medical Society of London, 128 (2011-2012), pp.76-88, ISBN No: 0-905082-48-8
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “God heals and the Doctor takes the fee: Benjamin Franklin and Medicine”. Presidential Address 2010. Hunterian Society Transactions,Volume LX, Session 2001-2012, pp.330-40.
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Dr Samuel Johnson: Dabbler in Physick: His Health, Physicians and Medical Journalism”, Transactions of the Medical Society of London 125 (2009-10), 47-60
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “Lichfield to London Revisited 2009: Johnson and Garrick’s Tercentenary Walk”, The New Rambler [Journal of the Johnson Society] (2009-10), 26-30
  • Nicholas Cambridge, The Society of Arts, Public Health and Sewage Disposal: Alfred Carpenter and Edwin Chadwick (William Shipley Group Occasional Paper 15, 2009), 51 pp.
  • Nicholas Cambridge, “John Wesley, William Cowper and Samuel Johnson: Electricity in the Enlightenment”, The New Rambler (2006-07), 14-28

Gresham College Lecture

On 30 May 2017, Dr Cambridge gave a Gresham College lecture: “From Mr Pickwick to Tiny Tim – Charles Dickens and Medicine”.  Click here to watch a video of the lecture or download the text.

Charles Dickens Lectures

On 10 November 2020, Dr Cambridge gave The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries Monckton Copeman lecture “The Tale of Charles Dickens – Amateur Physician or Social Reformer?”. Click here to watch a video of the lecture

Selected Publications

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