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That Gowers was the greatest clinical neurologist of all times many English-speaking colleagues of the author would be likely to agree. William Gowers was born in 1845, in Essex, in the eastern environs of London. Orphaned by the loss of his father, a shoemaker, at the age of 11 years, he achieved a fine scholastic training by means that are largely unknown. Apprenticed for two years to the local medical practitioner, Dr. Thomas Simpson, of Coggeshall in Essex, his industry was such that he appears to have learned not only the rudiments of the practice of medicine, and studied for and passed the London matriculation (1863), but at the same time furthered his general education particularly in literature, precise expression, languages, mathematics, botany, and, among other things, shorthand. It was at this time that he began a shorthand diary; shorthand was to be an abiding interest throughout his professional life;
Aring CD. Sir William Gowers 1845-1915, A Biographical Appreciation. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1957;99(2):316–318. doi:10.1001/archinte.1957.00260020152026
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