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Biographical entry Julius, Frederic Gilder (1811 - 1886)

MRCS April 22nd 1833; FRCS June 2nd 1353; MD Lambeth 1851; LSA 1833.

4 January 1886
General surgeon


Born in Bristol; his father soon afterwards removed to Richmond and joined Sir David Dundas in practice, Sir David being then Serjeant Surgeon to George III. Here he was afterwards joined by his two sons, George C Julius and Frederic Gilder Julius. The latter received his professional training at St George's Hospital, and his Lambeth degree was granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. "My degree is not the London degree," he said, "it is the Archbishop of Canterbury's; he has the power of granting it; I did not take it out as a matter of form, it is a very uncommon thing. In order to obtain it, I had not merely to pay the fees, I had to go to two Fellows of the Royal College of Physicians, who stated that they had known me a certain length of time, and that I was a person upon whom a doctor's degree might be conferred; upon that you are enabled to call yourself Doctor, that is all; that was my object."

Julius was for many years a leading practitioner in Richmond, Surrey, and in 1859 was the principal medical witness in the trial known as "The Queen against Thomas Smethhurst", which began on Aug 15th of that year and lasted several days. Dr Smethhurst was accused of the murder by poison of a Miss Isabella Bankes, whom he had bigamously married - he having as wife an older lady, alive at the time. Miss Bankes, when suffering from severe illness, involving constant diarrhoea and vomiting, had made a will in Smethhurst's favour on May 1st. Julius, who was called in and was in constant attendance upon her, suspected that some drug of an irritant nature was being administered to her in addition to those prescribed by him. She died on May 4th. His suspicions having been aroused, Julius had applied to a magistrate some time before her death, but Smethhurst was not arrested till the death occurred. Many important medical witnesses were called both for the prosecution and for the defence, and eventually Smethhurst was found guilty of murder, but was reprieved owing to insufficiency of evidence, and in the end, after litigation, succeeded to Miss Bankes's fortune. Julius, however, had acted with entire propriety in the whole matter, as had his partner, Samuel Dougan Bird, MRCS. He retired in 1871 and travelled much in countries bordering on the Mediterranean. His death occurred at Richmond on Jan 4th, 1886.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England