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Biographical entry Grabham, John (1794 - 1865)

MRCS Jan 3rd 1817; FRCS (by election) Aug 26th 1844; LSA 1816; MD St Andrews 1852; MRCP Lond 1860.

Somerset, UK
18 September 1865
Rochford, Essex, UK
General surgeon


Born near Bridgwater, Somerset, and was a fellow-apprentice with Thomas Wakley, founder of the Lancet, to Mr Incledon, an apothecary at Taunton. Grabham completed his term with a Mr Leroux, Surgeon at Clifton, and at the same time became a pupil of Mr Shute, Surgeon to the Bristol Infirmary. Subsequently he entered the Borough Hospitals (St Thomas's and Guy's), then united, and attended the lectures of Sir Astley Cooper, the elder Cline, and Babington. Sir Astley, attracted by his diligence and zeal, 'took him in hand', and after he had qualified introduced him to Dr Swaine, of Rochford, as a most desirable partner. Here he settled, and from 1817 onwards built up one of the largest practices in the county of Essex. He was known as 'Grabham of Rochford'.

Possessed of a wonderfully retentive memory and a well-grounded knowledge of almost every scientific and literary subject, added to a kindness of disposition and winning manner, it was no wonder that he became a favourite with all classes. He always contrived to keep pace with the times, notwithstanding his laborious practice; and for the greater part of his life it was his wont to rise at daybreak and quietly make himself master of any new book that had come out. In practice he was sound and successful, and during his career often performed the major operations. Sir Astley Cooper continued to correspond with and advise him, and paid him more than one visit.

His health failing, he retired from practice in 1852, but afterwards took the MD at St Andrews and the MRCP Lond. Four of his sons continued his honourable tradition, and became House Surgeons and prizemen at St Thomas's. Another, Thomas, of St John's College, was bracketed 33rd Wrangler at Cambridge in the Mathematical Tripos for 1854, when Routh was Senior Wrangler. Grabham's death at Rochford on Sept 18th, 1865, was said to have severed a link in the chain connecting the old and the new generations of medical practitioners.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England