Sir James Young Simpson
Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870) was born in Bathgate near Edinburgh. He trained as an Obstetrician becoming Professor of Midwifery in the University of Edinburgh. He was the first to use ether in obstetric practice in the UK on January 19 1847. In his search for a better agent he experimented together with friends in sniffing various agents, while seated around the dinner table. He subsequently introduced chloroform on November 8 1847. He was harshly attacked on moral rather than theological grounds for its use in relieving the pain of childbirth and it was not until Dr John Snow administered chloroform to Queen Victoria for the birth of her eighth child (Prince Leopold) that the seal of respectability was set on the relief of pain in childbirth by anaesthetic drugs.