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Biographical entry Vallance, Benjamin ( - 1859)

MRCS Dec 12th 1826; FRCS (by election) Oct 12th 1854; LSA 1826.

2 July 1859
General surgeon


Was the first to be appointed a House Surgeon of the Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, founded in 1828, and he was followed in that post by E J Furner (qv) in 1831. Upon the simultaneous resignation of the three Surgeons, Vallance, Furner, and John Lawrence, junr, were appointed their successors. Vallance thus became the Senior Surgeon, and he was also Surgeon to the Royal Household.

The foundations of the east and west wings of the Sussex County Hospital were laid on Sept 21st, 1852, and Nathaniel Paine Blake; MRCS, in his Sussex in Bygone Days (1919), describes the state of affairs as it then existed. He says:

"As the examination at the Apothecaries' Hall was coming on, I spent that evening in working at Euclid in the room next 'Vallance' Ward, which is now the Assistant House Surgeon's room, but which was then used for casualties in the morning, for out-patients between 12 noon and 1 pm, and for casualties (if any) and a pupils' sitting-room for the rest of the day. On one side of the fireplace was a washing-basin, and above this, in the corner, a cupboard containing a skeleton. On the other side of the fireplace was a cupboard with two drawers below, which were used for splints and bandages. In the cupboard above were kept a few cases of casualty instruments, some loose bones, and books belonging to the pupils. On that evening, as usual, the pupils' supper, consisting of bread and cheese and beer on a tray, was placed on the table about 9 pm. Soon afterwards a woman, whom I knew something of, she having lived at Pyecombe, was brought in from the railway, an engine having passed over both legs. The surgeons were at once sent for, and arrived accompanied by Mr William Verrall. In the meantime my Euclid and our supper were put into the cupboard, the table was placed in the middle of the room and a mattress put on it, the instruments were arranged on the window sill, three bull's-eye lamps were lighted, and after both legs had been amputated, one above and one below the knee, by Mr Vallance, who did the operation very well, the patient was removed, the instruments were washed and put away, the table was washed down and put in its place, and our supper again brought out and placed on it. This was my first operation, and my first initiation into surgery. I don't think I did any more Euclid that night!"

Vallance died at 29 Old Steyne, Brighton, on July 2nd, 1859, after a long and painful illness.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England