Celibate, teetotal, vegetarian and a devout Christian, Dr John Snow was a epidemiologist and an anaesthesiologist. He was a methodical and serious-minded medical researcher and statistician. It was Snow who first put anaesthesia on a firm scientific footing by introducing inhalers to deliver a measured and accurate dose of anaesthetizing agent to each patient. Snow's magisterial On Ether (1847) was published only after his premature death aged forty-five from a stroke.
Snow administered chloroform to Queen Victoria for the delivery of her youngest son, Prince Leopold, and later for Victoria's youngest daughter Princess Beatrice.
The epitaph on John Snow's grave reads: "In Brompton cemetery there was laid to rest, at the age of forty-five, John Snow (1813-1858), exemplary citizen and useful physician. He demonstrated that cholera is communicated by contaminated water, and he made the art of anaesthesia a science."