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Biographical entry Purvis, William Prior (1869 - 1923)

MRCS July 30th 1891; FRCS June 14th 1894; LRCP Lond July 30th 1891; BSc Lond 1889; MB (Honours in medicine, obstetrics and forensic medicine) 1892; BS 1893; MD 1894.

18 March 1869
13 February 1923
General surgeon


Born at Greenwich on March 18th, 1869, the eldest child of Dr J P Purvis, of Greenwich, and grandson of Dr Prior Purvis, of Blackheath, who had been one of the first Doctors of Medicine of the University of London. He went to the Roan School, Greenwich, then studied at St Thomas's Hospital, where he was House Surgeon and House Physician. He was next appointed House Surgeon to the Royal Hants and Southampton Hospital, later becoming Surgeon to the Hospital and Surgeon in Charge of the Nose and Throat Department. Subsequently he became Surgeon to the Free Eye Hospital and the Shirley Children's Hospital, also Consulting Surgeon to the Fenwick Memorial Cottage Hospital, Lyndhurst, Hants, and the Lymington and Milford-on-Sea Cottage Hospitals.

He practised at 14 Carlton Crescent, Southampton. He took an active part in local medical affairs, and received the Freedom of the Borough of Southampton together with Dr R E Lauder, Medical Officer of Health for Southampton, on their return after two years' service during the South African War with the Southampton Ambulance Corps. He took a prominent part in School Clinics, assisted materially in modelling the Hospital into a high state of efficiency, and was systematic in taking notes of both in-patients and outpatients, to the great advantage of the Resident Staff. He was an active member of the British Medical Association and filled the offices of the local branch up to that of President, as well as exhibiting surgical cases and initiating debates.

As a Freemason he was a Past Master of the Southampton Lodge No 394 and of the Twelve Brothers No 785. He served both as Treasurer and President of the Southampton Medical Society, and for a time was Chairman of the Southampton Public Medical Service. He was a keen member of the Hampshire County Cricket Club.

He died at his house in Southampton on Feb 13th, 1923, survived by his widow, four daughters, and four sons. One of the sons was then at the University of Cambridge. After cremation, his ashes were buried in the Southampton Cemetery, the funeral being attended by his professional colleagues.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1923, i, 463. Brit Med Jour, 1923, i, 399].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England