Robert Gooch of London, an outstanding physician of his time, was born at Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of a sea captain.1 In spite of his failure to enjoy the advantages of a classical education, his intellectual endowment and industry were exploited maximally. At 15 he was apprenticed to surgeon-apothecary Borrett. Through a chance friendship with a blind Mr. Harley, he acquired, while reading aloud and upholding his part in nightly dialogue, a taste for literature, philosophy, and abstract reasoning. Formal studies in medicine were begun at Edinburgh where he graduated MD in 1807, presenting in Latin an inaugural dissertation on rickets. The following winter Gooch studied anatomy and surgery at the Borough hospitals in London, tutored under Astley Cooper, and, in 1808, began general practice at Croydon.
Following the death from consumption of his wife and later his only child, Gooch came to London; there he practiced until his