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Biographical entry Smith, Samuel (1790 - 1867)

MRCS, Jan 3rd, 1812; FRCS, Dec 11th, 1843, one of the original 300 Fellows.

Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
19 November 1867
Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
General surgeon


Born in Briggate, Leeds, the son of George Smith, banker; was apprenticed to his brother-in-law, Fawell, a general practitioner in Leeds. He then studied in London, where he was for a time a house pupil of Sir Charles Bell, and in Edinburgh. He began practice in Leeds, and in 1819 was appointed Surgeon to the General Infirmary on the vacancy occasioned by the death of Stansfeld. He held office for forty-five years, and proved a successful operator, especially as a lithotomist, a scrupulously generous colleague, uniformly kind to his patients.

In 1864 he voluntarily retired from the active staff, and was appointed to the newly created office of Consulting Surgeon, as were also Hey and Teale. Smith continued to attend the infirmary whenever there were important operations and cases of accident. His abilities as an operator were not in any way affected by advancing years, for a few weeks before his death he performed an ovariotomy.

He was active as one of the originators of the Leeds School of Medicine in 1832. He began by teaching anatomy to his pupils, and he later lectured in the Medical School on surgery, midwifery, and the diseases of women and children. He had a large practice as an accoucheur, for he was also Surgeon to the Leeds Hospital for Women and Children.

In 1804, at the age of 14, he had joined the Militia formed in view of the threatened invasion, and was afterwards an active member of the Volunteer Corps. On the formation of the Leeds Engineer Corps he became one of their Surgeons and was promoted to Major of the Battalion.

In politics a staunch Conservative, and for many years Churchwarden in his parish church, he was a warm advocate of the movement which resulted in the Act for the shortening of the hours of labour in factories, both at meetings and at the Committee of the House of Commons, where he gave evidence on the subject, and by his zeal contributed much to the ultimate success of the movement.

He had already some signs of an onset of pleurisy, when he went out to visit patients, fell ill of pleuropneumonia, and died on Nov 19th, 1867, at his house in Park Square, Leeds. He was buried at Moor Allerton, his funeral being attended by a number of his colleagues, including William and Samuel Hey, and some forty students of the Medical School. His portrait had recently been presented by public subscription to the Infirmary as an expression of the esteem in which his services to charitable institutions in Leeds were held.

“Clinical Lectures on Lithotomy, delivered at the Leeds School of Medicine, 1858,”
12mo, London, 1859; reprinted from Brit. Med. Jour., 1859, 7, etc.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit. Med. Jour., 1867, ii, 514. Lancet, 1867, ii, 752.].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England