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Biographical entry Ottley, Walter (1850 - 1883)

MRCS July 24th 1872; FRCS June 14th 1877; MB Lond (Gold Medal in medicine and forensic medicine) 1872; BS 1876; LSA 1874.

7 January 1850
Pau, France
13 January 1883
Anatomist and General surgeon


Born at Pau, France, on Jan 7th, 1850, the son of Drewry Ottley, MD, who wrote the life of John Hunter in Palmer's collected edition of his works (4 vols, 8vo, London, 1835). He was educated at Cheltenham College, which he entered in January, 1864, during the headmastership of Dr Barry. He gained distinction on the classical side, and in 1867 proceeded to University College, London, where he showed equal ability though he was shy and unassuming. He did brilliantly at the University of London, graduating with the Gold Medal in medicine. His inclination, however, was towards surgery rather than medicine, and he was successively House Surgeon to the Nottingham Infirmary and the Birmingham General Hospital. Here he developed a great liking for surgery, and determined to return to London.

He was soon appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy at Westminster Hospital. He remained there till 1875, when, changes being effected in the Anatomical Department of University College, he became a Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy in his old school and held the appointment till 1879, latterly being Lecturer on Anatomy at the School for Women as well as Surgeon to the West London Hospital. Family responsibilities at this period weighed somewhat heavily upon him, and he was compelled to relinquish his hospital ambitions. He started in general practice in partnership with J J Bartlett, of Notting Hill, and here his record and his charm of manner promised him a career of success. He was a man of many accomplishments and wide culture, robust in health and a good athlete. When, therefore, he began to suffer from slight epileptic seizures, he himself must have felt grave anxiety. His death occurred quite suddenly and unexpectedly on the night of Jan 13th, 1883, just a fortnight after that of his distinguished octogenarian father. At the time of his death Ottley was Surgeon to the Kensington Dispensary, as well as a member of the Pathological and Clinical Societies. His address was 93 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, W.

"On the Attachment of the Eye Muscles in Mammals: I, Quadrumana." - Proc Zool Soc, 1879, 121.
"Description of the Vessels of the Neck and Head in the Ground-Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)." - Ibid, 461.
His paper "On a Case of Damage to the Heart from the Inhalation of Nitrous Oxide" appeared in the same number of the Lancet (1883, i, 95) as the announcement of his death (127).

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1883, i, 299, with obituary of his father, who died a fortnight before him].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England