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Biographical entry Wagstaffe, William Warwick senior (1843 - 1910)

MRCS April 29th 1864; FRCS June 11th 1868; LSA 1864; BA Lond 1861; Preliminary Scientific with Honours; 1st MB 1867.

22 January 1910
Anatomist and General surgeon


The son of Matthew French Wagstaffe, in medical practice at 10 Walcot Place, Kennington; was educated at Epsom College, being one of the first hundred boys admitted to the school. He was Prefect and Captain of the cricket and football team and a good amateur actor. Among his school friends and contemporaries were Sir Henry Morris, Sir Augustus Hemming, and Sir James Goodhart.

He later worked at home and at the School of Mines, attending Professor Tyndall's lectures and classes at King's College. He graduated BA in the 1st class in 1861. Gaining two entrance scholarships in classics and mathematics, and in natural science and modern languages, he entered St Thomas's Hospital and so maintained himself without further expense to his parents.

After qualifying he was successively House Surgeon, Surgical Registrar, Demonstrator of Anatomy, and in 1871 Resident Assistant Surgeon, following John Croft (qv). As such he moved to the new Hospital, and on the retirement of his trusted adviser and friend, F Le Gros Clark (qv), he was appointed Assistant Surgeon to St Thomas's Hospital. He was soon appointed Lecturer on Anatomy in conjunction with Francis Mason (qv).

He published The Student's Guide to Osteology in 1875, and was Examiner in Anatomy and Physiology at the Royal College of Surgeons 1877-1878. He edited the second edition of Le Gros Clark's Outlines of Surgery (1872). In addition he was one of the Secretaries of the Pathological Society from 1875-1877 under Jenner, Pollock, and Murchison. He was one of the founders of the Old Epsomian Club. In 1878 his surgical career was cut short by general spinal paralysis with severe attacks of lightning pains. He quickly became helpless and bedridden, but with intellect unimpaired. His friends always found him bright, cheery, and busy with literary work. He lived at Dorset House, St John's Road, Sevenoaks, died there on Jan 22nd, 1910, and was buried in the parish churchyard. He was survived by his wife, a daughter of F W Tetley, of Leeds. She had been his devoted companion and nurse, and their one child was William Warwick Wagstaffe, OBE (qv), Surgeon to the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.

Wagstaffe published a number of anatomical papers in Jour Anat and Physiol, vii-x, 1872-6, and in St Thomas's Hosp Rep, of which he was co-editor from 1874-1876; also in Pathol Soc Trans, xviii-xxix, 1866-78.
As an invalid he published:
"In Memoriam, F Le Gros Clark, FRCS, FRS." - St Thomas's Hosp Rep, 1891, xxi, p. xxiii.
Mayne's Medical Vocabulary, 6th (1889) and 7th eds.
Translation of Heiberg's Atlas of the Cutaneous Nerve-supply of the Human Body, 1885.
"George Rainey, his Life, Work, and Character." - St Thomas's Hosp Rep, 1892-3, xxi, p. xxiii.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1910, i, 405. Brit Med Jour, 1910, i, 356].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England