F. E. Anstie was born at Devizes, the son of Paul Anstie, a manufacturer. In accordance with the custom of the day, he was articled in 1850 to his uncle, a medical practitioner in Devizes. Three years later he became a student at King’s College, London, where he won the Gill prize for general proficiency in his first year. After acting as resident physician-accoucheur and anaesthetist at King’s College Hospital, he decided to practise as a physician. In 1859 he was appointed physician to the Chelsea Dispensary, and a year later became assistant physician and lecturer on forensic medicine at Westminster Hospital. He was afterwards lecturer on materia medica and medicine and was appointed physician in 1873. He was also physician to the Belgrave Hospital for Children and consulting physician to the Royal South London Ophthalmic Hospital.
In addition, Anstie served for several years on the editorial staff of the Lancet, and in 1869 became sole editor of the Practitioner, having acted as joint editor during the first year of the paper’s existence. He was one of the committee deputed by the proprietors of the Lancet in 1864 to investigate the administration of London’s poor-law infirmaries and prepared the reports which were printed in the Lancet, one of which led to an enquiry by the Poor Law Board and improvements in poor-law medical relief. Anstie was an advocate of medicine as a career for women, helping to found the London Medical School for Women, of which he was the first dean and lecturer on medicine. At the Royal College of Physicians he was much interested in improving the procedure for electing Fellows and in negotiations for the establishment of the Conjoint Board to conduct examinations. He was a man of restless energy, inclined to be combative, but, amongst his friends, a well-loved and sociable figure.
G H Brown
D.N.B., ii, 41]