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Biographical entry Plowright, Charles Bagge (1849 - 1910)

MRCS July 29th 1870; FRCS (elected as a Member of twenty years' standing) April 13th 1898; LRCP Edin 1870; MD Durham 1890; JP.

3 April 1849
King's Lynn
24 April 1910
North Wootton
General surgeon and Mycologist


Born at King's Lynn on April 3rd, 1849, and was apprenticed to John Lowe, Surgeon-Apothecary to the Prince of Wales and Surgeon to the West Norfolk and Lynn Hospital. Plowright became a pupil of the Hospital in 1865, and then passed on to Glasgow to study at Anderson's College and at the Royal Infirmary under Lister. After qualifying he was first House Surgeon at the West Norfolk and Lynn Hospital, and then settled in practice at King's Lynn, was Surgeon to the Hospital, and Medical Officer of Health for the Freebridge Lynn Rural District. He gained a large practice as a skilful and careful surgeon. He also took much interest in education, was a member of the Lynn Technical Education Committee, Director, and later Vice-Chairman, of the Girls' High School Committee, and Governor of the Lynn Grammar School. But it was as a mycologist that Plowright earned a European reputation. Beginning the study of fungi when a boy, he published whilst still House Surgeon the first of his scientific treatises, viz, Sphaeriacei Britannici. In 1872 he contributed a list of 800 Norfolk fungi to the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.

From 1891-1894 he was Hunterian Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology at the Royal College of Surgeons, when he delivered lectures on "Parasitic Fungi in Relation to Plant Disease", "Disease of the Reproductive Organs of Plants caused by Parasitic Fungi", "Action of Fungi on the Human Body", and "The Fungus Ringdon". He was elected a Member of the Italian and Scottish Cryptological and of the French Mycological Societies. He recommended against the potato disease the Bordeaux sulphate of copper solution, already in use for the prevention of mildew on vines and tomatoes, and against smut on wheat.

Plowright also wrote on archaeology, on neolithic man in Norfolk, and on the native dye plants. He collected flint and stone implements which he presented to the Lynn Museum. At his death the University of Birmingham acquired his very large collection of Pyrenomycetes, and the whole of his herbarium. In medicine he wrote several papers on the distribution of calculous diseases.

He practised at Sun Dial Cottage, North Wootton, and died there on April 24th, 1910. He was buried at North Wootton Church, the Mayor of Lynn and other representatives attending. He was survived by his widow, a daughter, and a son, Charles Tertius MacClean, who later succeeded his father as Surgeon to the West Norfolk and Lynn Hospital.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med Jour, 1910, i, 1149].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England