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Biographical entry Thorpe, Robert ( - 1851)

MRCS, April 7th, 1809; FRCS, Dec 11th, 1843, one of the original 300 Fellows.

21 January 1851
Manchester, UK
General surgeon


The son of John Thorpe, a distinguished Manchester surgeon. He was educated at the Manchester Grammar School, became his father’s pupil, and completed his medical education in London. After passing the College, he returned to Manchester in order to begin practice. From 1812-1849 he was Surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, of which he was Consulting Surgeon at the time of his death. Not only in his native town, but throughout the country, he had the reputation of being a clever anatomist and operator.

The following extract from the London and Provincial Medical Directory of 1852, 645, illustrates his character:
“At the Manchester Royal Infirmary, when an operation appears to be necessary, it becomes a matter for consultation among the medical staff before it is undertaken, and the decision depends upon the majority of votes recorded, commencing with the youngest and ending with the senior member. Mr Thorpe could not always attend these consultations, and it has happened that a patient about whose case he had not been in consultation, when arranged on the operating table, has been removed because he (Mr. Thorpe), after examination, expressed his opinion that it would be better to wait a short time.”

Many Manchester surgeons of distinction looked back gratefully in their later life on their pupillage under Thorpe.

He published nothing as a medical author, but possessed literary tastes and seems to have made occasional appearances as an author. He died at his house in Piccadilly, Manchester, on Jan. 21st, 1851, and was buried in the family grave at Blackley.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England