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Biographical entry King, M Kelburne (1823 - 1886)

FRCS (ad eundem) Nov 3rd 1870; LRCS Edin 1841; FRCS Edin 1858; MD Edin 1844; JP for Hull.

January 1823
2 January 1886
General surgeon


Born in January, 1823, the son of Captain King, RN, Spring Bank House, Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where he greatly distinguished himself, not only in medicine, but also in literature and the sciences. The famous professors of the time took much notice of him, notably Sir William Hamilton, the metaphysician, and Professor Syme, who showed him life-long friendship. He was associated as Demonstrator of Anatomy with Dr Robert Knox, and was House Surgeon to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

After taking his MD degree at the age of 21, he became House Surgeon and then Surgeon to the Infirmary, Greenock, where he also practised before removing to London in 1850. Finally he settled in Hull, about 1852, where his high abilities and agreeable social qualities soon secured him an extensive practice. In 1853 he was appointed Surgeon to the Hull General Infirmary, and held this position with conspicuous success till the close of his life. He was a man of wide and varied culture and of great intellectual activity, much interested in municipal affairs, and in the promotion of education and other useful public objects. For eleven years he did good and prominent work as a Member of the Town Council of Hull. He was an Alderman and was thrice Mayor, and in 1885 was Sheriff. He spoke clearly and logically and was respectfully listened to in the Council Chamber, where his known sincerity and earnestness made him a power. He was active as a sanitary reformer. Despite delays and much opposition, he had eventually the satisfaction of seeing most of his proposals adopted. He worked most notably in the cause of education, and during his Presidency the Hull Literary and Philosophical Society was enabled to pay off a mass of debt and to enlarge its museum. Science classes being established, and eminent men lecturing before the Society and being entertained by King, it emerged from obscurity and became an important educational force. King was also interested in the University Extension movement, and was President of the Cambridge University Extension Society in Hull.

In 1870 he enjoyed the unusual honour of being elected to the College Fellowship ad eundem, as "a tribute to his reputation and professional attainments." He was formerly Senior President of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, and at the time of his death was President of the Royal Institute, Hull, a member of the Anthropological Institute, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He had also been Lecturer on Surgery in the Hull and East Riding School of Medicine. He died at his residence, 6 Albion Street, Hull, on Jan 2nd, 1886. His death was due to rupture of an unrecognized thoracic aneurysm.

King's writings, which are numerous and not confined to surgery, include:
Case of Death occurring Forty Hours after the Administration of Chloroform; with Remarks on the Causes of Death from the Use of Anaesthetic Agents, 8vo, Hull, 1853.
A Case of Supposed Impermeable Stricture of the Urethra cured by Dilatation, with Remarks, 8vo, Hull, 1855.
The Median Operation of Lithotomy, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1856.
"Tumours of the Soft Palate and Fauces." - Lancet, 1871, i, 264.
"Axillary Aneurysm Cured by Laying Open the Sac and by Ligature." - Brit Med Jour, 1869, i, 142.
"On the Best Mode of Excising the Scapula." - Liverpool and Manchester Med and Surg Rep, 1874, ii, 68.
"Incarcerated Hernia Cured by Operation." - Edin Monthly Jour, 1852, xv, 417.
"Ligature of Carotid and Subclavian Arteries for Aneurysm of Innominate and Aorta." - Lancet, 1878, i, 823.
Remarks on the Recent Outbreak of Diarrhoea in Hull, 8vo, Hull, 1885.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1886, i, 136. Brit Med Jour, 1886, i, 136].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England