Remembering Slavery

Remembering Slavery Online Exhibition

Dr. Thomas Winterbottom

Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom

Dr Winterbottom was born in 1766 in Dean Street, South Shields. In 1792 he gained his medical degree and in a matter of months became a doctor in the Colony of Sierra Leone in Africa - a new homeland for former enslaved black Americans. Dr Winterbottom wrote about the medical practices of the native Africans and about illness in the middle passage based on his experiences in Sierra Leone. After spending four years there, he returned home to South Shields where he took over his father's medical practice.

Take a look

  • Portrait of Dr Winterbottom, 1766-1859
  • The front cover of Dr Winterbottom's book containing a description of sleeping sickness among Africans and the swelling of the glands in the neck. This was described to Dr Winterbottom by slave traders who would not buy Africans suffering from this condition because they were likely to die during the middle passage. Whilst Dr Winterbottom was not the first European to note this condition, it has become known as 'Winterbottom's sign'.

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