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Biographical entry Gould, Sir Alfred Pearce (1852 - 1922)

KCVO 1910; CBE (Mil) 1919; MRCS July 22nd 1873; FRCS June 14th 1877; MB BS Lond 1874; MS 1876; LRCP Lond 1874.

2 January 1852
19 April 1922
Ashburton, Devon, UK
General surgeon


Born on Jan 2nd, 1852, the second son of the Rev George Gould, Minister of St Mary's Baptist Church, Norwich. He was educated at Amersham Hall School, Caversham, and at University College, London. His career at the University of London was brilliant. He obtained the Gold Medal and Scholarship in Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetric Medicine at the MB examination and the Gold Medal in Forensic Medicine. Two years later he won the Gold Medal at the MS. At University College Hospital he was in succession House Physician, House Surgeon, Surgical Registrar, and Demonstrator of Anatomy.

He was elected Assistant Surgeon to the Westminster Hospital in 1877 and gave lectures on anatomy in the Medical School attached to the hospital. These posts he held until 1882, when he resigned on being appointed Assistant Surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital, where he acted as Dean of the Medical School from 1886-1892. He became full Surgeon in 1896, and then took charge of the newly formed Cancer Department for Out-patients and was closely identified with the establishment and endowment of the Cancer Investigation Department. He retired from the Middlesex Hospital on approaching the age limit in 1916, and was given the rank of Consulting Surgeon. He was also for a time Surgeon to the London Temperance Hospital, the Royal Chest Hospital in the City Road, and the Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis in Maida Vale.

He was a Member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1900-1916, serving as Vice-President for the years 1908-1909, and he delivered the Bradshaw Lecture in 1910. He was a Member of the Court of Examiners from 1884-1889, and represented the College on the Senate of the University of London for many years. He was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of London from 1912-1916 and was Vice-Chancellor for 1916-1917. He was also a Fellow and Member of Council of University College, and was greatly interested in the work of the Brown Institute and of the East London College. He was brought into touch with the Drapers' Company through the East London College and was elected an honorary freeman of the Company.

Pearce Gould was a secretary of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society, became Joint Treasurer of the Royal Society of Medicine on its removal to Wimpole Street, and was President of its Clinical Section. He filled the offices of Orator (1895), Lettsomian Lecturer (1902), and President (1902) of the Medical Society. The Lettsomian Lectures were delivered on the subject of "Certain Diseases of the Blood-vessels". He was Chairman of the Committee of Management at the London Meeting of the International Congress of Medicine in 1913.

As a philanthropist Pearce Gould also found time for much good and important work. He was Chairman of the Society for the Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical Men; Chairman of the War Emergency Fund, a branch of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund; a member of the Council of the Metropolitan Hospital Sunday Fund and of the Royal Surgical Aid Society. He was also Consulting Surgeon to the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and President of the Society for the Study of Inebriety. He was, too, one of the outstanding laymen of the Baptist denomination and gave a large share of his time and thoughts to the missionary movement.

On the outbreak of the War in 1914 Pearce Gould held a commission as Major à la suite in the Territorial Force re-formed in 1908, and was at once put in charge of the surgical division of the Third London General Hospital (TF). He was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel in 1915 and acted temporarily on several occasions as Officer-in-Charge of the Hospital. He again took charge after the Armistice in 1918, and remained in this position until the hospital was finally closed in 1920. He was one of the surgeons sent to France in 1917 by the Director-General of the Army Medical Service to study and report on the Dakin-Carrel treatment of wounds. He was decorated KCVO in 1910, and was rewarded for his military service with a CBE in 1919.

He retired from active practice early in 1921, gave up his house, 10 Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square, where he had resided for many years, lived at Hampstead, and had a country house at Ashburton, Devonshire. He married twice, his second wife being a daughter of Lord Justice Lush, and left a family of three sons and five daughters. His second son, Eric Lush Pearce Gould, MA Oxon, FRCS, became Surgeon to the Middlesex Hospital; the third son, Alfred Leslie Pearce Gould, RN (qv), was killed in the War.

Sir Alfred Pearce Gould died suddenly at Ashburton on Wednesday, April 19th, 1922, the funeral service being held at the Regent's Park Chapel, of which he had been an Elder for more than thirty years.

Gould was a brilliant clinical teacher and his classes were always crowded, for he taught dogmatically. His knowledge of surgery was unusually wide and he never specialized. He was a clean, thorough, and extremely careful surgeon who did much both by his advocacy and example to introduce the radical treatment of malignant disease recommended by Sir Mitchell Banks (qv). He was always greatly interested in the etiology and treatment of cancer, and foresaw a time when it might be possible for other methods to come into use which would render the scalpel unnecessary. As a man he was tenacious of his opinions to the verge of obstinacy, and was by conviction a total abstainer. In private life he was a charming host. Fond of music, he possessed a fine tenor voice, and was at one time frequently heard at students' concerts.

Elements of Surgical Diagnosis, 12mo, Philadelphia, 1884; 4th ed, revised, etc, by the author and ERIC PEARCE GOULD, 16mo, 10 plates, etc, London, 1914; 5th ed, 1919, with ERIC PEARCE GOULD.
"Two Cases of Varicocele with Undeveloped Testicle, and a Case of Antiseptic Osteotomy of the Tibia," 8vo, London, 1881; reprinted from Trans Clin Soc, 1881, xiv, 75.
On the Rapid Method of Cure of External Aneurysm by means of the Elastic Bandage; with a Table of Seventy-two Cases, 8vo, London, 1882.
Joint-editor with J COLLINS WARREN: The International Text-book of Surgery by British and American Authors, 2 vols, 8vo, 17 plates, London, 1900; 2nd ed, 8vo, 977 illustrations, London, 1902.
The Bradshaw Lecture on Cancer delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England on Wednesday, December 7th, 1910, 8vo, illustrated, London, 1910. This is a remarkable review of the whole subject.
"Injuries and Diseases of the Blood-vessels," "Aneurysms," and "Surgery of the Chest" in Treves's System of Surgery, 1895.
"Amputation of the Breast." - Lancet, 1892, I, 411.
A Case of Intussusception (with CECIL YATES BISS), 8vo, Philadelphia, 1892. Operative Treatment of Varicose Veins, Philadelphia, 1899.
"Radium and Cancer." - Brit Med Jour, 1914.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1922, I, 869. Brit Med Jour, 1922, I, 700. Personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England