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Biographical entry Hester, James Torry (1802? - 1874)

MRCS June 1st 1821; FRCS Aug 12th 1852; LSA 1821.

8 December 1874
General surgeon


Came of an Oxford family, and was probably born in Oxford in the year 1802. His brother, George Parsons Hester, was a solicitor and was for many years Town Clerk of Oxford. James was a student at St Bartholomew's Hospital. He was admitted 'Chirurgus Privilegiatus' of the University of Oxford in June, 1821, and settled temporarily at Abingdon, where he was Poor Law Medical Officer, conjointly with Mr Blundell, for the district of Besselsleigh. During the cholera epidemic of 1832 the Oxford Board of Health Reports state that Mr Hester, of Abingdon, asked for the admission of one of his patients to the Cholera Hospital there, and describes his conduct in doing so as highly reprehensible.

He was elected Surgeon to the Radcliffe Infirmary on Feb 1st, 1849, his competitors being Thomas Tyerman and Edward Law Hussey (qv). Previous to his election he had served on the weekly board, lived at No 1 Broad Street, and acquired a very large practice in the City; he was careless in money matters and was well beloved. The contemporary rhyme ran:
"Dr. Hussey - slow and sure -
Dr Symonds - kill or cure -
Dr Hester - good old man -
Is sure to cure you - if he can."

He was also Consulting Surgeon to the Littlemore and to the Warneford Asylums and to the Great Western Railway. He resigned his appointment as Surgeon in March, 1865, retired to Hastings, and died there at 11 Havelock Road on Dec 8th, 1874. He married twice. By his first wife he had four sons and two daughters. One of his sons, James, was apparently apprenticed to him. The second wife was Ellen, daughter of Benjamin Morland, of Sheepstead House, who bore him no children, and died at St Leonards on Feb 8th, 1898. Hester appears to have been a successful teacher, for the larger number of surgeon's pupils at the infirmary were articled under him.

A New Method of Managing Fractures by means of a hinged bed on which limbs can be slung in various positions. It was first printed in the Trans Prov Med and Surg Assoc, 1853, x.s. vii, 153, illustrated with 8 plates, and was reprinted separately in 1853.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Gibson's The Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, 1926, 171, et auct. ibi cit].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England