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Biographical entry Harrison, Reginald (1837 - 1908)

MRCS April 15th 1859; FRCS Dec 13th 1866; LSA 1859.

24 August 1837
Stafford, UK
28 April 1908
General surgeon


Born at Stafford on Aug 24th, 1837, the eldest son of Thomas Harrison, Vicar of Christ Church, Stafford, by Mary his wife. He was educated at Rossall School, and after a short apprenticeship at the Stafford General Hospital he entered as a student at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He was appointed House Surgeon at the Northern Hospital, Liverpool, in 1859, and in the following year became Senior House Surgeon to the Royal Infirmary - a post he held until 1862 - and Medical Officer of the City Lunatic Asylum. He was Surgeon to the Cyfarthfa Iron Works at Merthyr Tydfil from 1862-1864. He returned to Liverpool as assistant to E R Bickersteth (qv) in 1864, and practised first at 18 Maryland Street and from 1868 in Rodney Street. He was appointed Surgeon to the Liverpool Bluecoat School in 1864.

At the Royal Infirmary School of Medicine he was elected Demonstrator of Anatomy in 1864, becoming Lecturer on Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy in 1865; he was Assistant Surgeon from 1867-1874, and full Surgeon from 1874-1889. He also served as Quarantine Officer to the Port of Liverpool for a part of this time. He was Surgeon to the Northern Hospital from 1867-1868. In 1878 he visited the United States to watch Bigelow's earlier cases of lithotrity at a single sitting.

In October, 1889, he came to London on his election as Surgeon to St Peter's Hospital for Stone and other Urinary Diseases in place of Walter Coulson (qv). He immediately took a prominent position in the social and medical life of the metropolis, becoming a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, President of the Metropolitan Street Ambulance Association, Lettsomian Lecturer at the Medical Society of London in 1888, and President of the Society in 1890. In 1903 he visited Egypt officially to inspect the School of Medicine at Cairo on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons, and was rewarded with the 1st class of the Imperial Ottoman Order of the Medjidie.

At the Royal College of Surgeons he was a Member of the Council from 1886-1902, Hunterian Professor of Surgery and Pathology in 1890-1891, Vice-President for the years 1894-1895, and Bradshaw Lecturer in 1896, taking as his subject "Vesical Stone and Prostatic Disorders". He retired from practice in April, 1905, when he resigned his office of Surgeon to St Peter's Hospital, died on April 28th, 1908, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. He married in 1864 Jane, the only daughter of James Baron, of Liverpool, and left one son and two daughters. There are good photographs of Reginald Harrison in the Council Album and the College Collection.

As a surgeon, Harrison was interested throughout his life in the surgical disorders of the male genito-urinary organs. His chief claim to remembrance, however, lies in the fact that he was one of the small but active band of workers and teachers who raised the Royal Infirmary School of Medicine at Liverpool to the position of a well-equipped University of Liverpool. The private school of the Infirmary became a joint-stock company in 1869. Money was raised and new laboratories were built. Harrison as secretary-manager sought to fill each lectureship as it fell vacant with a young and energetic man who was as yet unhampered by the demands of private practice. The school, thus improved, became University College, which existed as a separate body from 1882-1903, when it was merged in the University. Harrison also took an active part in establishing the system (already in use in the United States of America) of street ambulances which long made Liverpool remarkable amongst the towns of Great Britain. He was active in promoting the Street Ambulance Association for developing the system throughout England, and was President at the time of his death.

Clinical Lectures on Diseases of the Urethra and other Disorders of the Urinary Organs, London and Liverpool, 1878.
Lectures on the Surgical Disorders of the Urinary Organs, 2nd ed, 1880; 4th ed, 1893.
Selected Papers on Stone, Prostate and other Urinary Disorders, 8vo, London, 1899.
The Use of the Ambulance in Civil Practice, Liverpool, 1881.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dict. Nat. Biog., Supplement 2, 1901-11, sub nomine et auct. ibi cit. Leyland's Contemporary Medical Men, Leicester, 1882, ii, 67, with lithograph portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England