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Biographical entry Macmurdo, Gilbert Wakefield (1799 - 1869)

MRCS Sept 3rd 1824; FRCS Dec 11th 1843 one of the original 300 Fellows; FRS 1839.

26 August 1869
Ophthalmic surgeon


Began practice as a surgeon in the City of London with a city and mercantile family connection, together with a "fair patrimony and a fine personal appearance". He was Surgeon to Newgate Gaol at a salary, followed by a retiring allowance, ample in amount at the time. He was appointed to the newly-made office of Assistant Surgeon at St Thomas's Hospital on July 2nd, 1841, conjointly with Samuel Solly (qv), was promoted Surgeon in 1843 in succession to F Tyrrell, and resigned in 1863, when his place was taken by John Simon (qv). He was elected Assistant Surgeon to the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, in 1830, when he gained 591 votes, his opponent, John Dalrymple (qv), receiving 143 votes. He was promoted to Surgeon in 1843 and resigned in 1856. His only contribution to ophthalmic literature seems to have been a short description of a case of recurrent haemorrhage from the inferior palpebral artery. At the Fishmongers' Company he was for many years on the Court of Examiners, and served the office of Prime Warden. He was a Member of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, being elected in 1850 and serving until 1869. He was a silent member who took no part in affairs and did not allow himself to be put in nomination for an examinership. But he was thoroughly popular with patients and pupils - one who never willingly made an enemy. He died at his house, 7 New Broad Street, in the City, on Aug 26th, 1869. There is an engraved portrait of him in the College Collection. His son reported "Notes of his Ophthalmic Lectures" in the Lancet.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Betham Robinson's St Thomas's Hospital Surgeons, 8vo, London, 1901. Treacher Collins's The History and Traditions of the Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, 8vo, 1929].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England