John Washbourn was born at Gloucester, the son of Lieut.-Colonel William Washbourn, who came of a Worcestershire family that could trace its descent back to Sir Roger Washbourn in the fourteenth century. He went to school at King’s College, Gloucester, and studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital, where he won almost every available prize, and at Vienna and Königsberg. He qualified in 1885 and took the F.R.C.S. three years later. Appointed demonstrator of anatomy at Guy’s in 1888, he became assistant physician in 1890, joint lecturer on physiology in 1891, and physician in 1897. He organised the Guy’s bacteriological department in 1890 and was made lecturer on this subject eight years later. Meanwhile he had been elected in 1889 assistant physician, and in 1892 physician, to the London Fever Hospital.
He was in South Africa from 1900 to 1901 as consulting physician, first to the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital and then to the forces in South Africa, and received the C.M.G. in the former year. Washbourn made his reputation chiefly as a bacteriologist. He conducted researches into the etiology and pathology of pneumonia and produced an anti-pneumococcal serum. In 1897 he identified the water supply which had caused an epidemic of typhoid fever at Maidstone. He married in 1893 Nellie Florence, daughter of William Freeland Card of Greenwich Hospital School, and had one daughter. He died at Tunbridge Wells from pulmonary tuberculosis, his health having suffered from the campaign in South Africa. He had been chosen as Croonian Lecturer for 1902, and his lectures were delivered at the Royal College of Physicians by Sir William Hale-White after his death.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1902; B.M.J., 1902; Plarr, ii, 490]