Millais CULPIN

Millais CULPIN

Male 1874 - 1952  (78 years)

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  • Name Millais CULPIN 
    Born 06 Jan 1874  Ware, Herts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Census 31 Mar 1901  West Ham, London Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Died 14 Sep 1952  St Albans, Herts Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Buried Aft 19 Sep 1952  The Cemetery, Trowbridge, Wilts Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    • Presume burial of ashes
    Probate 09 Jan 1953  London Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • Details:
      Culpin Millice, surgeon, adult, to Brisbane; Culpin Mrs, adult; Culpin Florence, 19; Culpin Millais, 17; Culpin Rose, 13; Culpin Clarence, 11; Culpin Ernest, 9; Culpin Daisy, 7. [6]
    • CULPIN, Millais (b. Ware 1874 - d. 14 September 1952)
      MD, FRCS; lately Lecturer on Psychoneurosis, London Hosp. Medical Coll., and Prof. of Medical-Industrial Psychology, University of London; son of Millice Culpin, LRCP and S; married 1913, Ethel Maude, daughter of E. Dimery Bennett; one daughter. Education: Grocers' Company School; London Hospital. Work: Formerly Rec. Room Officer, House Surgeon, Ophthalmic House Surgeon and Surgical Registrar, London Hospital; War service, 1914-1919; Surgical Specialist, 1914-1917; Neurological Specialist, 1917-1919. Publications: Spiritualism and the new Psychology; Psychoneuroses of Peace and War; The Nervous Patient; Mental Abnormality: Facts and Theories; various articles. Address: 17a Hatfield Road, St Albans, Herts. Telephone: St Albans 6010. [7]
    • British Journal of Industrial Medicine
      October 1952 issue


      Professor Millais Culpin died on September 25, 1952, at the age of 78.

      He entered the field of industrial medicine rather by accident than by design. He was the son of a doctor in general practice in Stoke Newington, and was educated at the Grocers' Company School where, in addition to scholastic success, he acquired a life-long interest in entomology. For health reasons his father gave up his practice in London to set up in Brisbane. Millais tried his hand at various ways of earning a living, including an ineffective attempt at gold-mining, and eventually settled as a teacher in Cape York Peninsula for four happy years. He returned to London and qualified in 1902; he then went back to Australia, afterwards setting up in practice in Shanghai.

      He married and returned in 1913 returned to England in the hope of having a practice in the south of England, but the 1924-18 war broke out and instead he served in France in the RAMC. His experience as a surgeon turned his attention to the problems of psychoneurosis and as soon as possible he returned to England to study "shell-shock". He was appointed lecturer on psychoneurosis at the London Hospital and settled down as a psychotherapist.

      When two investigations of the Industrial Health Research Board produced experimental evidence that telegraphists' cramp was not primarily an organic muscular disease, Dr Culpin was appointed to study the condition and was able to show that it conformed to the group of disabilities known as psychoneuroses. This brought him into the field of industrial medicine and his appointment at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine gave him further opportunities. After the investigation into cramp he studied the problem of miners' systagmus, the loss of time in industry due to preventable sickness, the incidence of psychoneurotic disabilities and the experimental conditions associated with their development.

      He retired from research work in 1939 but continued some clinical work until his death.

      May Smith
    • Culpin, Millais (1874?1952), psychologist, was born on 6 January 1874 in Baldock Street, Ware, Hertfordshire, the second of six children of Millice Culpin (1844?1942), a leather seller, and his wife, Hannah Louisa Munsey (c.1850?1937). The family moved to Stoke Newington, in north London. Millais attended the Grocers' Company's School, Hackney, and became one of a group of young entomologists, the North London Natural History Society (later part of the London Natural History Society). This hobby remained a lifelong interest. In 1891 Millice Culpin, now a qualified doctor, and his family emigrated to Brisbane, Queensland. Young Millais spent four formative years as a ?bush schoolmaster? in north Queensland; the lively letters he wrote from there to his former schoolmates were published, edited by his daughter, as Letters from Laura (University of Townsville, 1987) and show a gift for scientific and human observation and his lasting affection for the country.

      Millais returned in 1897 to enter the London Hospital, where, after winning various prizes and qualifying in 1902, he graduated FRCS in 1907. He held various appointments there before taking up a practice in Shanghai; there he met, and married in 1913, Ethel Maude Bennett (1874?1966) of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, a London Hospital trained nursing sister who had come to take up the post of matron of the Shanghai-Nanking (Nanjing) Railway Hospital, the chief British hospital. Both experienced, in their professional roles, the revolution of 1911, and both retained a warm interest in the Chinese people. Culpin's two sojourns in the tropics were to lead to an interesting paper, ?Neurasthenia in the tropics? (The Practitioner, August 1935).

      After a visit to his family in Australia, where the only child of the marriage, a daughter, Frances, was born, they returned to England in 1914, just as war broke out. Culpin joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a surgeon, but soon his obstinate truth seeking led him to question the diagnoses of his seniors in recognizing and treating hysterical / psychosomatic disorders (shell-shock). He worked as a surgeon in the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth. Culpin was in France in 1916, but meanwhile in 1915 he and Dr E. G. Fearnsides wrote one of the first articles on the war neuroses (BMJ, 9 January 1916). Finally Colonel Aldren Turner, a neurologist, sent Culpin to Maghull for training under, among others, T. H. Pear and Bernard Hart, only for Culpin to find fresh hostility to the psychoanalytical view when he moved to Moneyhull, Birmingham. Later, at Ewell Military Hospital, he met with understanding and co-operation, and the support of Colonel C. S. Myers. In these struggles Culpin must often have felt isolated and despairing: it is a tribute to him and his fellow workers in the field that their findings were accepted and acted upon in the Second World War.

      Culpin was demobilized in 1919. He took a London MD and never practised surgery again. His thesis, published in 1920 as The Psychoneuroses of War and Peace, was followed by Spiritualism and the New Psychology (1920), and The Nervous Patient (1924). He had by now thrown in his lot with the practitioners of psychological medicine. Just after the First World War he was appointed lecturer in psychoneuroses at the London Hospital, the first post of its kind, which he held until 1939, and he began private practice as a psychotherapist in Queen Anne Street, London. This he continued through the Second World War, and later practised in Guildford and St Albans. The family had been for some time settled in Loughton, Essex, near Epping Forest, the scene of his early ?bug-hunting? cycle rides from Stoke Newington and where friends from his student days were already living. In 1932 the family moved to Park Village East, on Regent's Park Canal in north London, until they were bombed out ten years later.

      In the early 1920s Culpin was called on to work for the Industrial Health Research Board (A Study of Telegraphists' Cramp, by May Smith, Culpin, and Eric Farmer, 1927). He himself valued most his work for the Medical Research Council on miner's nystagmus (?The occupational neuroses (including miner's nystagmus)?, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1933). While chairman of the industrial section of the British Psychological Society he investigated the bus drivers under treatment for gastric disorders at Manor House, the trade union hospital, revealing psychosomatic symptoms in a stressful job. This type of research became the basis of many job selection procedures in business and industry.

      In 1931 Culpin became professor of medical industrial psychology at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at London University. He enjoyed his work there, the research, the students, and appreciated his colleagues, but remained unimpressed by the trappings of prestige or position. In 1944 he was elected president of the British Psychological Association; he never forgot his debt to Freud's theory of the unconscious which, he told a young colleague years later, he was reminded of every day of his working life, and he enjoyed a friendship with the German analyst Georg Groddeck, whom he visited several times at Baden-Baden. Culpin's chief publications were Medicine: and the Man (1927), The Nervous Temperament (1930), Recent Advances in the Study of the Psychoneuroses (1931), and Mental Abnormality: Facts and Theories (1948).

      During the years just before the Second World War, Culpin was active in the China medical aid committee and the Academic Assistance Fund (aiding professionals from Nazi Germany) and during the war he followed with interest the development of the provision of care and treatment for the psychiatric casualties of war through his son-in-law, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen MacKeith RAMC.

      Culpin's father was a stern rationalist, but Millais described himself as a ?cheerful agnostic?. Physically he was tall, dark, regular featured, and mild mannered. He never owned a car, walked with a swift stride, and remained in good health until his death on 14 September 1952 at his home in Hatfield Road, St Albans, of a pulmonary embolism. His ashes were scattered at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, haunt of his favourite swallowtail butterfly. Culpin's nature was as gentle as his mind was keen, and he led a quiet, fairly abstemious life, enjoying until the end a good game of bridge, the Times crossword, the company of his family, and the first brimstone butterfly of spring.

      Frances Millais MacKeith

      M. Culpin, ?An autobiography?, Occupational Psychology (July 1947) personal knowledge (2004) BMJ (27 Sept 1952), 727?8 The Lancet (27 Sept 1952) b. cert. d. cert. Wealth at death 8208 3s. 2d.: administration, 9 Jan 1953, CGPLA Eng. & Wales Oxford University Press 2004?5
      All rights reserved: see legal notice Oxford University Press

      Frances Millais MacKeith, ?Culpin, Millais (1874?1952)?, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 7 Dec 2005]

      Millais Culpin (1874?1952): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/51592
    Person ID I724  Freeman-Culpin | Culpin descendants
    Last Modified 2 Sep 2017 

    Father Millice CULPIN,   b. 01 Dec 1846, Buntingford, Herts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 01 Sep 1941, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 94 years) 
    Mother Hannah Louise MUNSEY,   b. 1848, Ware, Herts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Jun 1934, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years) 
    Family ID F387  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Ethel Dimery BENNETT,   b. Abt 1874,   d. 23 Jun 1966, Winchester, Hants Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 92 years) 
    Married 1912  Shanghai, China Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
     1. Frances Millais CULPIN,   b. Mar 1914, Young, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Dec 2011, Winchester, Hants Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 97 years)
    Last Modified 11 Oct 2015 
    Family ID F410  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsCensus - 19 Cecil Road, West Ham, age 27, medical student - 31 Mar 1901 - West Ham, London Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Millais & Ethel Culpin
    Millais & Ethel Culpin
    Millais in RAMC uniform
    Millais Culpin
    Millais Culpin
    labelled "Millais Culpin in retirement"
    Millais Culpin in 1892
    Millais Culpin in 1892
    Millais Culpin in 1912
    Millais Culpin in 1912
    Millais Culpin in 1897 in Townsville, Qld
    Millais Culpin in 1897 in Townsville, Qld

  • Sources 
    1. [S173] GRO BMD Indexes, (, MQ1874, Ware, 3a 272.

    2. [S33] Census, (, RG13/1568/117/32.

    3. [S172] Newspaper - The Times, Wednesday 17 September 1952.

    4. [S99] FindMyPast, (, Wiltshire Memorial Inscriptions Index.

    5. [S255] E&W National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966, 1973-1995, (

    6. [S2] FamilySearch, (, NZ Immigration Pax Lists 1871-1915, Wellington (Inwards) 1891 (Jan-June).

    7. [S181] Who was who, Compiler: A&C Black Publishers Ltd 2005, Via xreferplus on CCC Libraries website.

    8. [S99] FindMyPast, (, Consular Marriages, Volume 13, page 373.