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Biographical entry Potter, John Phillips (1818 - 1847)

MRCS July 16th 1841; FRCS Aug 14th 1845; MB Lond (with a scholarship of £50 each in anatomy, physiology and surgery) 1841.

28 April 1818
Southrop, Gloucestershire
17 May 1847
General surgeon


The only son of the Rev J P Potter, of Oriel College, Oxford; born on April 28th, 1818, at Southrop, Gloucestershire, where his father was then curate. He went to proprietary schools at Brentford under Dr Morris, and at Kensington under the Rev J T Evans, friends of his father. He entered at University College, London, in 1831 the classes of experimental and natural philosophy under Dr Ritchie, and obtained the second honour in those classes. He then attended the lectures of Dr Turner in chemistry, was his laboratory pupil, and obtained the first honour and the Gold Medal. In the session 1834-1835 he was sixth in the botany class. In 1835-1836 he was the private pupil of Jones Quain, the Professor of Anatomy, was fourth in anatomy and physiology, and fourteenth in anatomy. In the session 1836-1837 he obtained highest honours in anatomy and physiology, and in comparative anatomy and zoology. He graduated MB in 1841. For the next three years he was Clinical Clerk to Dr Williams, and Dresser and House Surgeon to Liston. In 1843-1844 he was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy, with Ellis as his colleague. His kindness and zeal made him popular with students; he was lively, brilliant, an excellent teacher, and a man of fine promise.

In 1847 he was appointed Assistant Surgeon to University College Hospital, but a fortnight later, at the post-mortem examination of a case of hip-joint suppuration, he punctured the knuckle of his forefinger. Septic inflammation followed; he was attended by Liston, Fraser, and others, but died three weeks later on May 17th, 1847. His funeral at Kensal Green was attended by some two hundred professors, students, and friends.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1847, i, 576].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England