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Biographical entry Hawkins, Charles (1812 - 1892)

MRCS March 3rd 1837; FRCS Dec 11th 1843 one of the original 300 Fellows.

29 May 1812
4 April 1892
General surgeon


Born on May 29th, 1812, his father, of an old Monmouthshire family, being a Doctor of Medicine and Roman Catholic who, in 1836, settled in practice in Upper Brook Street. He with two brothers were sent to Oscott, another brother became well known as a barrister, an active Governor of St George's Hospital, and a protestant. Charles Hawkins was unrelated to the great Hawkins family of surgeons.

He entered St George's Hospital on Jan 28th, 1829, as a perpetual pupil of Sir Benjamin Brodie, and in 1886 he was House Surgeon. He then became assistant to Brodie, who had more patients than he was able to attend to. He thus obtained a large practice and gained experience. But in 1843, in spite of Brodie's support, Henry C Johnson (qv) was appointed Assistant Surgeon to St George's Hospital after an election contest in the old style. In 1848 he did not contest the next vacancy, when Prescott Hewett (qv) was appointed. In spite of all, Hawkins continued a warm supporter of the hospital, and took a leading part in its government and in the development of the convalescent branch at Wimbledon. For some years he was acting Treasurer of the hospital and was afterwards elected a Vice-President. He laboured constantly to promote the Medical School which Brodie had rendered well known. He was Hon Secretary and Treasurer of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society. He served from 1866-1873 on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons as one of the reform party of the time. As a Roman Catholic he attended Cardinal Wiseman in Rome in 1860, receiving from Pope Pius IX a gold medal in recognition of his services; he was also consulted at the beginning of Cardinal Manning's last illness. He was Consulting Surgeon to Queen Charlotte's Hospital, and for many years, until his death, Inspector of Schools of Anatomy. He had attended Brodie in his last illness, and is chiefly to be remembered as the editor of Brodie's collected works, together with an autobiography and a short biographical notice by Hawkins, published in 1865 in three volumes.

Until within a few years of his death he had lived and practised at 27 Savile Row, then at 9 Duke Street, when he frequented the Athenaeum and loved to talk over old times with his friends. At the end of 1891 he was attacked by bronchitis and was found dead in his chair on April 4th, 1892. He never married.

In Holmes's System of Surgery Hawkins wrote the article on Lithotrity in 1864, which he republished with additions in 1870.
"An Exceptional Case of Faecal Accumulation in the Bladder following on a Rectovesical Fistula in a Man, Successfully Relieved by Lithotrity." - Med.-Chir. Trans., 1858, xli, 441; 1859, xlii, 423.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England