John Abercrombie was born at Cheltenham, the son of John Abercrombie, F.R.C.P., and the grandson of one of Wellington’s surgeons. He was educated at Eton, Cheltenham and Caius College, Cambridge, and took the degree of B.A. in 1874. Three years later he proceeded to the M.B. degree, having completed his clinical training at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where Robert Bridges was among his associates. Abercrombie was a house physician at St. Bartholomew’s and in 1881 joined the staff of Charing Cross Hospital as assistant physician. He lectured on forensic medicine from 1882 till 1901, issuing a Student's Guide to Medical Jurisprudence in 1885, and on medicine from 1901 to 1905. He was made full physician in 1890 and consulting physician in 1905. He was also assistant physician to the Hospital for Sick Children from 1884 to 1893 and physician to the Foundling Hospital after 1890. He examined in medicine for Durham and Cambridge Universities. Abercrombie was a sound physician but his quiet manner and deliberate caution prevented him from becoming a popular teacher. He married in 1900 a Charing Cross Hospital sister, Evelyn Graham, daughter of James Aspinall Tobin of Eastham House, Cheshire, by whom he had a son and daughter. He retired a few years later to Brough in Westmorland where he was able to live the life of a country squire and to indulge his love of music and sacred art, exhibiting to friends his valuable collection of fifteenth-and sixteenth-century Italian and Spanish paintings. He could indulge, too, the harmless foible of attiring himself every evening in an eighteenth-century velvet suit, with black silk stockings, buckles and shoes. Abercrombie died at Brough.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1914; B.M.J., 1914; Biog.Hist.of Caius College, ii, 394]