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Biographical entry Gulliver, George (1804 - 1882)

MRCS June 2nd 1826; FRCS Dec 11th 1843 one of the original 300 Fellows; FRS May 7th 1839.

4 June 1804
Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
17 November 1882
Canterbury, Kent, UK
General surgeon


Born at Banbury, Oxfordshire, on June 4th, 1804, and was educated at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he was Anatomical Prosector to John Abernethy and Dresser to Sir William Lawrence.

He was gazetted Hospital Assistant to the Forces in May, 1827; Assistant Surgeon to the Forces on June 12th, 1828; Assistant Surgeon to the 71st or Highland Light Infantry Regiment on July 23rd, 1829; Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Horse Guards (Blue) on June 2nd, 1843; he became Surgeon to the Blues, and left the Service on April 1st, 1853. A considerable part of the interval between 1829 and 1842 was spent at Chatham, where he was in charge of the Army Medical Museum at Fort Pitt. He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society on May 7th, 1839, in recognition of his original work in physiology.

At the Royal College of Surgeons of England he was elected one of the first 300 Fellows, his election arousing some ill-natured criticism from the more senior medical officers in the Army Medical Service. He served on the Council from 1852-1864 and was Hunterian Orator in 1863. His Hunterian Oration dealt with the neglected claims of William Hewson and John Quekett as discoverers. He delivered the lectures on comparative anatomy and physiology as Hunterian Professor during the years 1862-1863, and was succeeded in the Chair by Thomas Henry Huxley (qv).

He retired to a house in Old Dover Road, Canterbury, died there, enfeebled by gout, on Nov 17th, 1882, and was buried in Nackington Cemetery, near Canterbury. His only son, George (1852-1891), MD Oxon, became Assistant Physician to St Thomas's Hospital.

Gulliver had a thoroughly scientific mind. He published no book, but he was the author of numerous monographs of great value. He was the first to compile extensive tables of the size, shape, and structure of the red blood-corpuscles of man and many vertebrate animals. He corrected the views of John Hunter on the coagulation of the blood, and pointed out the intimate connection between the thymus gland and the lymphatic system. His work in connection with the formation and repair of bone had considerable significance. He also rendered important service to pathology, and did some good original work in botany. It was Gulliver's good fortune in the army to work under John Davy, the younger brother of Sir Humphry Davy. The two officers had much in common scientifically, and both were ardent fishermen.

Gulliver edited and enriched Gerber's General and Minute Anatomy of Man and the Mammalia in 1842. He also wrote the life and edited the standard edition of The Works of William Hewson, F.R.S., which was published by the Old Sydenham Society in 1846.
Hunterian Lectures on the "Blood, Lymph and Chyle of Vertebrates."- Med. Times and Gaz., 1862, Aug. 2, to 1863, June 13.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dict. Nat. Biog., et auct. ibi cit. Lancet, 1882, ii, 916. Brit. Med. Jour., 1882, ii, 1124. T. Madden Stone refers to a privately printed Gulliveriana: An Autobiography including Brief Notices of some of his Contemporaries (Lancet, 1891, ii 1319). The volume does not appear to be accessible. Johnston's R.A.M.C. Roll, No. 4260].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England