John Thomson was an example of a particular kind of medical practitioner in nineteenth-eentury Britain. These men sought to combine the role of teacher with that of clinician. Their clinical activities can be further analysed into attendance upon public hospitals and the treatment of private patients. In Edinburgh with its large medical school the possibilities of a career as an academic clinician were especially obvious. A community of such practitioners can be identified in the city in the first half of the nineteenth century; the relative weight given to the different elements of this compound role differed, however, between individuals.