Biography of Sir William Tennant Gairdner
Sir William Tennant Gairdner, c 1891
Sir William Tennant Gairdner (1824-1907) was Regius Professor of Practice of Medicine, 1862 to 1900 and the first Senior Physician of the Western Infirmary.
Born in Edinburgh, Gairdner was the son of a physician. He graduated MD from the University of Edinburgh in 1845 and, after travelling abroad, became a pathologist at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He published a number of influential lectures and articles on public health issues before his appointment to the Regius Chair in Glasgow, and he was the city's Medical Officer of Health from 1863 until 1872. His most famous innovation in the latter post was the introduction of ticketing - posting and enforcing a limit on the number of people who could inhabit a house or dwelling.
Gairdner was recognised as an authority on heart and lung disease, but wrote authoritative books, pamphlets and papers on a wide range of medical subjects during his time in Glasgow. He was appointed Physician-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria in 1881 and Honorary Physician to King Edward VII in 1901, and he was made KCB in 1898. He was President of the British Medical Association in 1888 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1893.