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Biographical entry Lane, James Ernest (1857 - 1926)

MRCS May 18th 1880; FRCS Dec 14th 1882.

24 July 1857
4 November 1926
General surgeon


Born on July 24th, 1857, at 1 Grosvenor Place, the son of James R Lane (qv), Surgeon to St Mary's Hospital and to the Lock Hospital, and great-nephew of Samuel Armstrong Lane (qv), one of the founders of St Mary's Hospital and head of the Grosvenor Place School of Anatomy, which was transferred from St George's to St Mary's in 1854.

Lane was educated at Lancing College and Magdalen College School, and entered St Mary's Hospital in 1875. He became Resident Medical Officer, and on taking the Fellowship in 1882 was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy in the Medical School. This post he filled till 1888, when he was elected Lecturer on Anatomy following Edmund Owen (qv) and Assistant Surgeon. He became Surgeon to Out-patients in 1891, full Surgeon to the hospital and Lecturer on Surgery in 1904, and was Consulting Surgeon in 1922. Equally long and close was Lane's connection with the Lock Hospital, which lasted from 1878-1925. In 1913 his experience at the Lock Hospital led to his appointment as a member of the Royal Commission on Venereal Diseases.

At the Royal College of Surgeons Lane held a number of positions. He was Examiner in Anatomy for the Conjoint Board and for the Fellowship. From 1907-1917 he was a Member of the Court of Examiners and was a Member of the Dental Board for ten years from 1911. From 1913-1921 he was a Member of the Council. He was also at various times Examiner in Surgery for Commissions in the Royal Naval and Indian Medical Services. During the European War he organized and took charge of, as Major RAMC (T), the American Military Hospital at Paignton, and was then appointed to the 3rd London General Hospital, with which he worked to the end of hostilities.

As a teacher Lane was notable. For seventeen years he lectured for four days a week at nine o'clock throughout the winter, and never once during that time was he late. Generations of St Mary's men will remember Lane's nine o'clock lecture as their first introduction to the study of medicine, and many will call to mind the dry sarcasm which rewarded a particularly wild shot at answering the questions which always followed his lecture. One of his prosectors arrived late one Monday morning, and Lane addressed him with, "I presume your late arrival is a mark of contrition for the dissection on which I am to lecture". He never lost touch with his students, being himself a keen and stalwart athlete, a member of the St Mary's Hospital football team, a winner of numbers of events in his own hospital sports and of the United Hospitals hurdles. He was a prominent Freemason and one of the founders of the Sancta Maria Lodge in connection with St Mary's. He was the successful Secretary of this Lodge for close on twenty-five years. At the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Meeting of the British Medical Association in 1893 he was one of the Hon Secretaries of the Section of Surgery.

Not long after his retirement from active work at St Mary's Hospital, he was returning home to dinner from the Sports Club when he was knocked down in Regent Street by an omnibus. He sustained a serious fracture of the femur, which refused to unite. Carried first to St Mary's Hospital, he was tended by his former pupils, and was eventually taken to the Star and Garter Home for Disabled Officers at Richmond, where a former pupil still watched over him. He had endured his disabilities with exemplary patience for three years, when he at last found relief, dying peacefully on Nov 4th, 1926. He was buried at the old Fulham Cemetery on Nov 8th. He married in 1900 Miss Gertrude P Woram, who survived him. His London address was 47 Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square. A characteristic photograph in khaki is in the College Collection.

Editor of the 9th and last edition of Heath's Practical Anatomy, 1902.
Articles on "Impotence", etc, in Hutchison and Sherren's Index of Treatment. Articles on "Syphilis" and "Gonorrhoea" in Rendle Short's Index of Prognosis and End-results of Treatment, 1915.
"Manufacture of Salvarsan Products in England and France." - Lancet, 1915, i, 934, etc.
"Treatment of Syphilis by Intravenous Injections of Mercury." - Ibid, 1921, ii, 796.
"Present Position and Treatment of Syphilis." - Proc Roy Soc Med (Surg Sect), 1909-10, iii, 209.
The Prophylaxis of Venereal Diseases, 8vo, London, 1907.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England