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Henry Critchett Bartlett

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1845. City of London Register.
1873. Burlington House.
1877. Letter to the Times.
Gray's Inn.
Lactopeptine. Report of the Chemical Analysis.
Scott's Midlothian Oat Flour.
Henry's Early WC Installation.
Henry's Early WC Installation.
58. Northside (present day 2015)

Henry Critchett Bartlett (1836-1893)

1881 Living at 39 Duke Street, Westminster: Henry C. Bartlett (age 44 born City of London), Consulting Analytical Chemist. With his wife Isabella Bartlett (age 32 born St. Pancras). Two servants in the house. [1]

1893 July 21st. Died. Of 9 Queen's Square, Lavender Hill, Surrey.


Henry Critchett Bartlett Ph.D. F.C.S Publications and achievements. - [2]

  • Henry Critchett Bartlett is abbreviated to HCB.

1836 HCB born in Wood Street, close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London.

1845 (Autumn) – 1849. HCB a pupil at The City of London School. It is noted in the Guildhall's directory that chemistry was taught there at this period by Thomas Hall, who sent no fewer than 30 of his pupils to the privately funded Royal College of Chemistry.

1849 Cholera rages through London as HCB leaves The City of London School.

(To date I cannot discover where HCB continued his chemistry studies or gained his PH.D. I will upload this information when I receive a positive response from one of the many institutions I have contacted.)

1851 England & Wales census: The Bartlett family is listed as living at 3 Ampthill Square, Camden, but HCB aged 15 is not listed.

1857 14th November, Henry Critchett Bartlett, aged 21, is listed as living at Ampthill Square, Hampstead Road in connection with his invention “Improvements in the Manufacture of Paper”. Patents Applied for and Patents Granted. The Repertory of Patent Inventions.

1857 Specifications of the Patent Granted to Henry Critchett Bartlett etc. Patents Applied for and Patents Granted, pp.486-7.

1859 HCB married Mary Jane Fenwick at Kew Parish Church. On the marriage certificate he described his occupation as 'Gentleman'. HCB married at 23; his bride was 20.

1860 Refers in 1880 (see entry for that date) to having had his own laboratory 20 years earlier.

1861 England & Wales census: – HCB untraceable in any country, likewise his wife. (The Bartlett Family is still living at 3 Ampthill Square)

1862 The Post Office Directory 1862 reads Bartlett Henry Esq; Ampthill Square. NW

1871 Post Office Directory 1871 reads Bartlett Henry Critchett & Co. Wholesale stationers 26 Garlick Hill Mansion House, London EC.

1871 Court Register reads H.C. Bartlett Esq: 7 South Square, Gray's Inn.

1871 England & Wales census: Address: 7 South Square, Gray's Inn. Henry C. Bartlett (Head) aged 34, described as Consulting Engineer (Civil) with 'wife' Isabel(la) Bartlett aged 22.

1874 April 2nd. Bartlett, Henry Critchett, Elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society (now the Royal Chemical Society) at Burlington House (see image). Chemical News 10 April 1874, Proceedings of Societies, p.160. This admission is also recorded in the list of Fellows of the Chemical Society. This Society was founded in 1841 but had occupied 2 rooms in Cavendish Square before it removed to Burlington House in 1857.

1874 30 July. Publication in The Empire newspaper, Sydney,Australia, of a select committee of the House of Commons on 8th June which considered the statements on adulteration, misrepresentation and admixture of injurious ingredients by Dr. H. C. BARTLETT, Ph. D. and F.C.S., analytical chemist of Gray's Inn, who was that day examined by the select committee.

1875 Court Directory reads Capt. H.C. Bartlett 7 South Square. (I can find no explanation of this title.*)

1875 Post Office Directory reads Bartlett, Henry Critchett, 7 South Square, Gray’s Inn

1875 Public Health Act.

1875 August. The British Medical Journal – Report of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association, held in Edinburgh. The Chair was taken by Joseph Lister. HCB commented on the lecture 'Drinking and Table Waters' on the value of microscopic research, and the poisoning from lead pipes.

1876 Post Office Directory. Bartlett, Henry Critchett, 7 South Square, Gray’s Inn

1876 Advertisement in the U.S.A for Lactopeptine, as recommended following chemical analysis by HCB. (See image.) This is just one example of HCB's numerous endorsements following analysis, as his reputation for publicising chemical products not injurious to health spread abroad. See also his 1893 report (below) on the qualities of Scott's Midlothian Oat Flour. His judgements were by no means always favourable.

1876 Cup and Platter; or Notes on Food and its Effects, by G. Overend Drewry, MD and H.C. Bartlett, Ph.D., F.C.S. Published by Henry. S. King & Son, London.

1876 Proceedings of The Institute of Chemistry. 1876 p.31. A circular, inviting 124 well-known chemists, was forwarded by the Organisation Committee of the newly inaugurated Institute of Chemistry to a meeting for Thursday April 27th, 1876. 46 of these scientists attended, including (as listed on p.31) H.C. Bartlett.

The subsequent altercation surrounding the status of practising chemists versus consulting analytical chemists may be of interest. See the chapter The Birth of the Institute in Chemists by Profession:The Origins and Rise of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and reference notes 59-62 on p.157. See also HCB's letter in The Analyst, 1877, 2, p.31, in which he claims not to have received an invitation to the meeting on 27 April 1876, but had attended anyway. In this letter he states that he “can date back my practice [of chemistry] for twenty years, and have no reason to be dissatisfied with the results.”

1876 December. Inauguration of The Sanitary Institute following the Public Health act of 1875. Dr H. Critchett Bartlett Ph.D F.C.S. appears on the list of Members of the Committee, and at a meeting of the Council on 26th July 1877 was appointed to the Board of Examiners. Ninety people had attended a public meeting on 6 March organised by the Institute, when Sir J.W. Balzalgette spoke on the recent report of the Local Government Board on the modes of treating town sewage. Jubilee Retrospect of The Royal Sanitary Institute 1876-1926, p.4-6,8. A History of the Institute, with special articles on the Progress of Sanitation during the past Fifty Years. Jubilee and London Congress, 1926.

1877 The Digestion and Assimilation of Fat in the Human Body. An Epitome of laboratory Notes on Physiological and chemical experiments bearing on this subject. By H. Critchett Bartlett, Ph.D. F.C.S. Author of analytical papers on the subjects of food and the nourishment of the body in “The Lancet”, “The British Medical Journal”, “The Medical Press and Circular”, “The Medical Record”, “The Sanitary Record”, “Public Health” etc. London, J. & A. Churchill, New Burlington Street.

In the Introduction to The Digestion and Assimilation of Fat in the Human Body HBC refers to his “esteemed friend and teacher, Baron [Justus] von Liebig.

Vivisection. The Introduction also reveals in a way not found in any other document that HBC made many of his experiments on living animals. He writes that he also refers to the fact that he has been unable to make as much progress as he had hoped on the nature of digestion due to “recent anti-vivisectional legislation”. He adds that “the unexpected enforcement of certain rules of Gray's Inn has practically closed my laboratory there for these purposes. I have, however, now made special arrangements at my new laboratories in Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, which will, I hope enable to complete at least some of the other physiological experiments, and to proceed with analyses such as have been lately forbidden to me.”

These remarks are connected to new national concerns about the involvement of live animals in scientific experiments. In 1875 opposition had led the government to set up a Royal Commission on Vivisection, in which it recommended that legislation be enacted to control it. A bill was drafted but agreed to leave loopholes. In 1876 a second, less ambiguous Cruelty to Animals Act was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. In Gray's Inn premises this notice appeared:

LAWYERS FOR ANIMAL WELFARE Library Chambers 1st Floor, Gray's Inn Chambers Gray's Inn , LONDON , WC2R 5JA Pursues welfare & interests of animals via legal channels. Solicitors, barristers etc invited.

It would appear that this development forced or prompted HCB to set up laboratories elsewhere in 1876. That is the address given on his letter to The Times of 22 January 1977. (See image.) However, his formal address remained South Square, Gray's Inn for that year at least.

1877 22 January, Letter to The Times 'The Carlisle-Place Orphanage'. (See Investigation: “the high mortality rate of infantile death is caused by improper feeding.” A second letter was printed on 30 January. … “It is plain that the dietetic management of infancy requires the whole of these terrible examples to be made public.”

1877 Post Office Directory. Bartlett, Henry Critchett, 7 South Square, Gray’s Inn

1877 May. HCB is listed as a candidate for admission as a member of The Society of Public Analysts as H.C. Bartlett, Ph.D. F.C.S. 7, South Square, Gray's Inn.

1877 HCB is elected by ballot as Member of the Council of The Society of Public Analysts HCB claims “I have practised for twenty years as a chemist”.

1877 The Analyst 1877 An anonymous review of Dr Bartlett's book, The Digestion...including the opinion that it could be that “it will mark an important advance in our knowledge of the process of the digestion and assimilation of fats. It might be well, however, if Dr Bartlett furnished us with some of the analytic data on which his conclusions are based, and, if he would, at the same time, state his views with somewhat less verbiage.”

1877 October. HCB's paper 'Water for Domestic Use' was read at the Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, held at Leamington. Report of the Third Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, held at Croydon, October 1879, p.356.

HCB attended many Congresses of The Sanitary Institute where he almost always read a paper or commented at length on the papers of others. At one congress the Report of papers read at the congress gives only HCB's title and the words - “Dr Bartlett spoke Ex Tempore”

1878 No entry in the Post Office Directory.

1878 October. HCB's paper 'The Chemistry of Dirt' was read at the Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, held at Stafford. Report of the Third Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, held at Croydon, October 1879, p.359

1878 'Wallpapers and Dyes' was published in The Medical Press and Circular

1878 October. 'The Chemistry of Dirt' was published in The Engineer , p.261.

1878 November. 'Poisonous and Non Poisonous Paints and Wall Papers' was published in The Engineer, p.321.

1879 HCB Fellow of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, and on its Board of Examiners. A regular lecturer at each of its annual Congresses 1877 – 1885.

1879 “This was the year of the passing of the Sale of Food and Drugs Amendment Act, a small Act having mainly to do with administration, which, incidentally, cleared up some doubt which had existed as to whether the sale of an adulterated article to an inspector, for the purposes of analysis, legally constituted “prejudice” to the purchase. For many years this Act also fixed the minimum legal strength of potable spirits”. Fifty Years of The Society of Public Analysts, p.22.

1879 The Sale of Food and Drinks Act. A discussion at a meeting of The Society of Analysts on the new Act followed the reading of a paper on the subject of spirits and a proposal to ask for the introduction of an amending Bill. Dr Bartlett, in reply to the speaker, drew on his professional business in connection with distillers. Adulteration of spirits “with injurious matters” was one thing, but there were difficulties in defining the content of spirits in relation to price, this being “a complete snare”. The key issue was dilution. Analysts would need to be guided in giving evidence as to undue dilution, and given standards of proportion of proof spirit, below which brandy and whisky ought not to be sold. Having talked at some length (as fully reported in The Analyst, pp.380-381), he concluded that as long as price was a consideration the Food and Drugs Act was open to quibbling, could lead to no convictions and would become “a dead letter”. The President Dr Muter said that after the exhaustive remarks of Dr Bartlett he did not see that much remained to be said. It seems from the Amendment Act (above) that Dr Bartlett's suggestion was adopted.

1879 HCB on the Council and the Board of Examiners. Report of the Third Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain Held at Croydon, October 1879.

1880 On the Presence of Arsenic in the Atmosphere, H. C. Bartlett, Ph.D. The Analyst, 1880, Vol.5 81-82

1880 HCB was elected a member of the Council of The Society of Public Analysts, and appointed to the Committee on Water Analysis. “The labours of the Committee continued until the middle of the following year, when they culminated in the publication in The Analyst (1881, 6, 127) of a detailed scheme of water analysis set forth in minute detail which, apart from bacteriological examination, which was yet in the distance, is substantially the mode of procedure still followed by most water analysts.” Fifty Years of The Society of Public Analysts, p.23

1880 The Analyst,1880, Vol.5 81-82.It was reported that following the reading of a paper at a Meeting of the Society of Analysts 'On the Effect of Light on some Reagents' HCB said that “he had kept some potassium iodide which had been for about 20 years in the dark in his laboratory, and it had become of a dark yellow colour. (That implies that HCB had his own laboratory in 1860, aged 24).

1880 Article by HCB on Baby Farming in The British Medical Journal.

1881 England & Wales census: HCB ('Consultant Analytical Chemist') and Isabella are living at Duke Street, London, along with a footman and a cook. No children present.

1883 Perspectives in Public Health May 1883 vol. 4 no. 2 203-212 On the Influence of Minute Suspended Matter on Health: its Detection, Collection, and Examination, by H. C. Bartlett, PH.D., F.C.S. Discussed in Transactions of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, p.190

1881 November HCB a Judge “for purity and superior excellence” of tinned goods, cereals, alcohol and cooking machinery at the International Food Exhibition, The Agricultural Hall, London. HCB was appointed a scrutineer. The Judges' report was detailed and encouraging but unsparingly critical. While “Tea is well represented, and we can speak with satisfaction of the samples shown”-“All the foods specially put forward for infants fall short in those soluble nutritive matters which are essential. These foods are all too starchy.” Judges' Report in The Analyst 1881, p.230.

1884 July. Address by H. C. Bartlett, Ph.D., F.C.S. 'Some of the present aspects of Practical Sanitation'. Transactions of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain vi 29-46. This is a long, impassioned and wide-ranging plea for more government legislation on public health issues. Here is just one example:-

“... We come face to face with our old enemy the dust-bin. What can we do to overcome this grim and ghastly concentrator of garbage? Disestablish it at once, cast it away and nevermore permit a heap of sweltering corruption to poison the air, insult the olfactory nerves, and, maybe, prove a very centre of infection. As long as there is a dust-bin, and servants be permitted to throw potato-peelings, cabbage leaves, and other vegetable refuse into it, we invariably find there fish-bones, scraps of putrid meat, and all kinds of animal matter, thrown away because too disgusting to give to the dogs or cats.

The accumulation of all the decomposable matter … becomes formidable in a week of hot weather and an intolerable nuisance in a fortnight, and a hot-bed of putrescence pestilence soon after. …. Yet it is not very seldom that three weeks elapses before the dustmen can be induced by bribes and threats to remove the heaving conglomeration of filth.”

1884 September, H.C. Bartlett Ph.D. F.C.S a Judge at the Exhibition of the Dublin? Congress of The Sanitary Institute of Great Britain.

1884 Sanitary World, ii, 57. An article by HCB on 'Practical Sanitation'. 1884-5 'Practical Sanitation' in Transactions of the Sanitary Institution London, vi, 29-46

1893 21 June. Advertisement in The Portsmouth Evening News for Scott's Midlothian Oat Flour. Report by H.C. Bartlett Ph.D. F.C.S. “I have made a series of very careful analyses of SCOTT'S MIDLOTHIAN OAT FLOUR. These show remarkable proportions of bone-forming matter,and greatly exceed those found in Wheat Meal and Flour. The results are highly satisfactory, and your preparation is the best I have ever examined.”

(The Analyst, January 1877, had noted that oatmeal might contain barley meal to the extent of 15%, and that did not constitute adulteration.)

1893 30th July. HCB, described as Analytical Chemist, died aged 56 of pneumonia and Pulmonary Phthisis.

1894 The Analyst, 1894,19, 49b-57 President's annual address - Loss of HBC#

1895 “In the same year we lost H. Critchett Bartlett who had at one time been a well- known consultant.” Fifty Years of The Society of Public Analysts, p.43.

1926 Jubilee Retrospect of the Royal Sanitary Institute, 1876-1926 The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health January 1926 47: 1-52. HCB is praised as one of the great reformers.

Biographical Notes

HCB was a lifelong Londoner. Born in 1836, he was the eldest son of Henry Bartlett and Judith née Critchett. His father was a Freeman of the City of London and a city banker. His grandfather George Bartlett, also a Freeman of the City of London, was a coal merchant listed as owning a ship and warehouse in the London Docks. HCB's mother Judith was the daughter of Benjamin Critchett, who co-owned and published The Post Office Directory. Benjamin Critchett is also listed as owning a Leather Warehouse, 14 St Benet's Hill, St Paul's. In the 1841 England & Wales census Henry, as the eldest living child of Henry and Judith, is living aged 5 at 20 Bayham Terrace, Camden, London.

As noted above, there is a hiatus in documentation after HCB leaves the City of London School in 1849, until 1857 when he returned to his parental home in London, or registered his invention on the manufacture of paper (patented that year) to that address while living elsewhere.

HCB was a colourful character, renowned for his 'verbiage' - a ready facility for speaking and writing. He also seems to have had a colourful (and maybe tragic) personal life. As noted above, in 1859, aged 23, he married 20 year-old Mary Jane Fenwick at Kew Parish Church. Her father was Thomas Fenwick, an artist. There is no further record of her, of any offspring, or any death of a Mary Jane Bartlett until the late 1990s, after HCB's death.

In 1871 Isabella Fenwick, Mary Jane's younger sister by 10 years, is found living with HCB at South Square, Gray's Inn. There is no record of any offspring, but on 29 November 1884 'Isabel' Bartlett died at 20 Manchester Square, Central London, of an operation for Stenosis Uteri. The operation may have been an attempt to aid fertility. Present at the death was her brother Charles Robert Fenwick.

In 1885 there begins a second hiatus in documentation. In September and December HCB is listed as owning, renting or occupying a house in St John's Hill Grove in Battersea, London, describing himself as Henry Bartlett M.D. F.S.I. (Fellow of the Sanitary Institute). The property is known to have the first water closet in the street, and it is still there. (See image.) But in 1888 he is still listed in the London Directory as living at 39 Duke St.

In 1889 HCB's last visit to a Chemical Society meeting is recorded. That same year his son Walter Benjamin is born to Jemima Hutchison, aged 28 (listed on the birth certificate as his wife Jemima Bartlett). Their address is 58 Northside, a large house opposite Wandsworth Common. In the 1891 England and Wales census HCB is described as a Professor of Sanitary Science, and the address is still 58 Northside, Wandsworth Common. A daughter Ada, aged 8, is listed alongside Walter Benjamin. In July 1891 HCB's second son Alfred is born to Jemima Bartlett in the same house. The road to the right of the house was cut through the garden in the 20th century. (See image).

In March 1893 March HCB's daughter Dorothy is born to Jemima Bartlett at 9 Queen's Square, Lavender Hill, Battersea. That summer HCB makes a will which requires him to register Jemima Hutchison as his legal wife. He dies in July 1893, as noted above, of pneumonia and pulmonary phthisis, aged 56. In February 1894 Administration of HCB's (small) personal estate is granted to 'Jemima Hutchison'. Bequests promised from members of his family are also granted to Jemima.

All 3 of HCB's 'wives' lived very close to his childhood home in Camden. It may be assumed that Mary Jane Fenwick Bartlett refused to give Henry a divorce, leaving him unable to marry again. But the undocumented years between 1859 and 1862 could show quite different developments. I will not speculate here.

By Margaret Gullan-Whur Ph.D sent to Grace's Guide as her intellectual property, and gift to share with other historians of science.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1881 Census
  2. A chronological list compiled from research at the Royal Chemical Society, The Wellcome Library, The British Library, University College London library and other sources by Margaret Gullan-Whur Ph.D, followed by a brief biography.