The son of a cheese dealer, Allen was admitted to St John's in 1875, following a course of study at the Royal College of Chemistry. He graduated B.A., with a First Class in the Natural Sciences Tripos, in 1879, and subsequently obtained the qualifications M.R.C.S. (1882), L.R.C.P. (1883), M.B. (1885) and M.D. (1895). Having worked for a time at St George's Hospital, London, Allen returned to Cambridge in 1885 as a research student. In 1887 he was appointed Professor of Physiology at Mason University College, Birmingham, a post he held until 1899. Allen was Secretary of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society for 17 years (1913-30), publishing many papers on architectural subjects, together with a monograph on 'The Great Church Towers of England' (1932). Allen studied music throughout his life, and some of his songs were published by Novello in 1887 under the title 'Dainty ditties, or, nursery rhymes with new tunes'.
Manuscript music; various publications; Cambridge Antiquarian Society material.
Bequeathed by F.J. Allen, 1942. The Cambridge Antiquarian Society material was given by John Pickles, Oct. 2007.