Simon, John

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Simon, John


Born Oct. 10, 1816, in London; died there July 23, 1904. British physician and surgeon. Member (from 1845) and vice-president (1879–80) of the Royal Society of London.

Beginning in 1847, Simon was a surgeon at St. Thomas’ Hospital, where he lectured on surgery and taught a course in general pathology. This course was the basis for the first handbook on general pathology in Great Britain, which Simon published in 1850. Simon became the medical officer of health for the city of London in 1848 and the first medical officer for the General Board of Health in 1855. He was the first medical officer to the Privy Council from 1858 to 1871.

In 1854, Simon reported that the high morbidity and mortality rates characteristic of the working class were the result of unfavorable and unsanitary living conditions. He advocated the implementation of preventive medicine and defined the duties and work methods of a physician. He insisted upon the creation of a central public-health organization.

Simon headed a group of specialists and physicians who conducted social hygiene research; this group included E. Greenhow, E. Smith, J. Hunter, G. Buchanan, E. Seaton, and G. Stephens. The results of this work were used by K. Marx in establishing a number of theoretical concepts in the first volume of Das Kapital.

F. Engels wrote “J. Simon … is possibly the last of the old, professional, and conscientious officials of the era of 1840–60, for whom the interests of the bourgeoisie were constantly the main obstacle in performing his duty and who was forced to always fight against them” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed. vol. 35, p. 182).


Reports Relating to the Sanitary Condition of the City of London. London, 1854.
Public Health Reports, vols. 1–2. London, 1887.
English Sanitary Institutions, Reviewed in Their Course of Development and in Some of Their Political and Social Relations, 2nd ed. London, 1897.


Vengrova, I. V. Iz istorii sotsial’noi gigieny ν Anglii XIX veka. Moscow, 1970.
Lambert, R. Sir John Simon 1816–1904 and English Social Administration. London, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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