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Biographical entry Pettigrew, William Vesalius (1815 - 1874)

MRCS April 21st 1837; FRCS (by election) Aug 26th 1844; MD Glasgow 1839.

21 April 1815
13 February 1874
General surgeon


Born on April 21st, 1815, the second son of Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, FAS (qv), the medical biographer, which explains the strangeness of his second christian name. His grandfather had been a Surgeon in the Royal Navy before he settled in practice in London.

Pettigrew was admitted to Westminster School on June 25th, 1824, and afterwards studied under his father at the Windmill School of Medicine and at Charing Cross Hospital. He practised in King's Road, Chelsea; and lectured first at Grainger's School of Medicine in the Borough, then at Lane's School of Medicine in Grosvenor Place, and for many years contributed by his ability and zeal to the maintenance of the school. In 1848 he succeeded his father as Surgeon to the Asylum for Female Orphans, Lambeth, was Surgeon to the West London and Chelsea Infirmary for Diseases of the Eye in Jubilee Place, King's Road, and Surgeon to the Royal Pimlico Dispensary and Lying-in Institution in Belgrave Terrace, SW. Increase of practice led him to move to Chester Street, Belgrave Square, and this increase continued until 1866, when his health, mental as well as physical, began to fail. He retired and lingered on until his death on Feb 13th, 1874, at Colebrook Lodge, Upper Norwood.

He married: (1) Sept 5th, 1839, Mary, daughter of John Crosse, of Bottesford, Leicestershire. She died in giving birth to a son. (2) On Dec 21st, 1841, Frances Mary, who was a daughter of Thomas Moore, of Dorset Square. She survived him with a son and three daughters. His first son had predeceased him whilst a medical student. A portrait was presented to him in February, 1848, by the students of Lane's School of Medicine. A copy of the Maguire lithograph signed by him was presented to the College by his friend Madden Stone.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Record of Old Westminsters, London, 1928, ii, 737. R R James's The School of Anatomy and Medicine adjoining St George's Hospital, 1830-1863, London, 1928. Additional information given by Warren R Dawson, Esq].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England