Ferdinand Richard Holmes Merrick/Meyrick Trinity College
As his final results will show, Ferdinand was not a star pupil, but I am sure that he enjoyed the lively student life. Whilst he was studying for his undergraduate degree, Trinity celebrated 300 years as a University - the celebrations were so massive though that they did not take place until two years later, and included a whole series of functions to which the great minds of the time were invited. Even as an insignificant undergraduate, these must have been heady times to be a student there.
In the Hilary Term of 1893 (on April 28 1893 to be precise), he graduated with a BA, which doesn’t sound very medical to me (he was ultimately a doctor), but maybe it was psychology? He didn’t get honours though, so probably not an academic genius. Maybe he had other talents. In the Calendar for the year he is listed under the heading of Pensioners and Sizars. Pensioners are students who paid a fixed sum annually, and a sizar is “an undergraduate who receives maintenance aid from the college”, but I have no way of knowing which he was - a pensioner I would think, as he was surely not poor. As an aside - two of his brothers, Robert Warren and Ernest Edwin also graduated in the same year, also without honours. He was later to work in partnership with Robert Warren.
My guess is that he then went on to study to be a doctor - also at Trinity College. And during this time he meets his future wife, Kate Evelyn Nason, at the Trinity Club Races. When I first read of the Trinity Races, I immediately assumed horses, but no - it was people. The Trinity College Races, it seems, were not just an internal athletics club meeting, they were a huge general social event, attended by the high society of Dublin. I mention them, because it was at the Races that Ferdinand met Kate Evelyn Nason, whilst he was studying medicine. Whether he was competing, or merely part of the audience I have no idea. It seems to have been a case of a strong and instant mutual attraction, which Kate describes thus: “at the Trinity College Races there came into my life a certain tall, fair, handsome medical student. We liked each other at once and my people liked him too, though of course his then position precluded all question of marriage. But did it? I found it impossible to think of this man as nothing more than a friend, and when a very rich man whom I met shortly afterwards proposed to me, I abruptly refused him.” She goes on to say that under pressure she became engaged to this man although not happy about it.
Kate is amazingly vague about time in this early part of her life, so we shall return to their mutual story later, as I suspect that at least three years elapsed between this first meeting and their marriage in December 1899.
To return to Ferdinand’s academic career, I think, that, as part of his medical degree, he went out to the Royal City of Dublin Hospital, which, I am guessing, was part of Trinity College and in 1897 achieved a Licentiate (LM) and a Special Certificate in Gynaecology from there. The following year, 1898 he graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BAO (Baccalaureus in Arte Obstetricia) a degree which is unique to this particular university, due to the legislation of the time insisting on a final degree in obstetrics. He simultaneously achieved an MB and BCh which are the latin versions of a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery. So now he is a doctor.