Livingstone’s Medical Certificate

This is David Livingstone’s Medical Certificate along with an accompanying letter.


The Certificate shows that David Livingstone (spelling then, Livingston), attended a practical anatomy course at Glasgow University, overseen by Robert Hunter MD. His rather short course lasted only from 1st November 1836 until 25th April 1837, but no doubt would have been intensive and challenging. One can only wonder at the sights he saw, including the strong possibility of working on bodies left for or obtained for experimentation and study.

Oath to Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, [1837?]

From the similar era, David’s written oath is provided in letter format, joining the medical profession. A doctor’s testament promising to work to the best of his knowledge and abilities for the good and safety of all people. The letter ends on a promise before god to ensure he never knowingly hurts anybody or causes harm.

With thanks to Alex Rochead for these two interesting and important documents.


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  1. Eric – did you keep any photos of that!? Sounds interesting. I hope to explore much more about Barnhill soon. The whole area, i feel needs its history unravelled and set out logically. Paul

  2. Hi Paul
    I have a medical text book in Latin used by a Jackson Barnhill in 1829
    He was at Andersons same as Livingston. We had a family painting we
    donated around 1955 to Coatshill Hospital Airdrie. He was the physician superintendent to I think 1875.

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