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Biographical entry Garner, Robert (1808 - 1890)

MRCS March 4th 1831; FRCS Nov 10th 1864; LSA 1830.

4 March 1808
Longton, Staffordshire, UK
16 August 1890
Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, UK
General surgeon


Born on March 4th, 1808, at Longton, Staffordshire. His family had been long established in the Potteries, and the name of Robert Garner appears in local records as far back as the days of James I. Garners were at different times well-known potters, some being connected with the house of Wedgwood, as well as other famous firms.

Robert Garner showed early scientific leanings, and, choosing the medical profession, entered London University, now University College, where he did not graduate. He became a student of Middlesex Hospital and was a favourite with Sir Charles Bell. He completed his professional studies in Paris, where he was a witness of the Revolution of Three Days (1830), and helped to tend the wounded at the hospital of La Charité.

Returning to London, he practised there for a short time, and then settled in Stoke-upon-Trent, where he soon did well. He was elected Surgeon to the North Staffs Infirmary in 1834, and, after holding the appointment for many years, retired as Consulting Surgeon. He was highly valued by his colleagues at this institution, and by the public for his attainments, integrity, and kindness. He was the first President of the Staffordshire Branch of the British Medical Association. He was a keen naturalist, and founder of the local museum. His collections of botanical, zoological, and geological specimens were extensive, and he took an active part in founding the North Staffordshire Naturalists' Field Club.

His writings in various forms total nearly one hundred, and he worked on to within the last few months of his life. He was attacked by hemiplegia in the year 1878, when he had retired from practice, but though his right side was paralysed his mind remained perfectly clear. He set himself to learn to write with his left hand, and succeeded, communicating papers thus laboriously indited to societies and periodicals. He died at his residence, The Quarry, Hartshill, Stoke-upon-Trent, on Aug. 16th, 1890.

Among Garner's numerous publications mention should be made of the following:-
The Natural History of the County of Stafford: comprising its Geology, Zoology, Botany, Topography, Manufactures, etc., 8vo, plates, London, 1844. This was regarded as a standard work.
Holiday Excursions of a Naturalist.
Eutherapeia: or, an Examination of the Principles of Medical Science, with Researches in the Nervous System, 8vo, London, 1855.
Figures Illustrating the Structure of various Invertebrate Animals (Mollusks and Articulata), 4to, 6 plates, London, 1860.
"Life: Vitalists and Physicists, Teleology," 8vo, London, 1877; reprinted from Brit. and For. Med.-Chir. Rev., 1877.
"The Brain and Nervous System." - Jour. Anat. And Physiol., 1881, xv, 536.
"On the Conario-hypophysial Tract (Cerebral Tract of Prof. Owen)." - Ann. And Mag. Nat. Hist., 1882, 5th ser., x, 280.
Papers upon comparative anatomy in the Transactions of the Linnean and Zoological Societies.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England