Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Walton, Henry Haynes (1816 - 1889)

MRCS Nov 8th 1839; FRCS Aug 10th 1848.

3 March 1816
7 November 1889
Ophthalmic surgeon


Born in the island of Barbados on March 3rd, 1816, the eleventh son of John Walton, Provost Marshal. He was the last born of twenty-three children. He himself became six feet in height, yet was the shortest of his brothers, for his father's ancestors - Yorkshiremen - were of gigantic stature; his mother, too, a daughter of General Haynes, who came of a Hereford family, was tall and was a woman of remarkable talent and force of character. His father died when he was ten years old, and Haynes Walton, coming to London, was placed under the supervision of Dr Fred John Farre, then lecturing on materia medica at St Bartholomew's Hospital, who stimulated Walton by the example of his former pupil, and their mutual relative, John Frederick Jones, the author of the Treatise on Haemorrhage, 1805. Farre directed his entry to St Bartholomew's Hospital and his residence in St Edmund's Buildings, Aldersgate Street, called 'the medical barracks'. Edward Stanley (qv) was lecturing on anatomy, flourishing his whalebone at his lectures, talking of the "secerning extremities of arteries", "the brushlike termination of nerves", and teaching that the "microscope was a mere plaything, an instrument that engendered illusions and made science a fiction".

Walton learned to put up with the filth and abomination of the dissecting-room and to become one of the most expert of the students in anatomy. He won the anatomical and physiological prize and obtained honours in comparative anatomy and botany.

Rather contrary to routine, he passed MRCS in 1839, then acted for a year as Dresser to Lawrence, and for another year as Clerk to Latham, and was House Surgeon. He was afterwards House Surgeon at the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, at a time when Dieffenbach's strabismus operation was being adopted unscientifically and to excess.

Haynes Walton operated on squint cases at his lodging before a number of St Bartholomew's students. Jordan Lynch, then the Medical Officer in Charge of the West London Union, Smithfield, gave him the opportunity of operating for strangulated hernia, he had performed herniotomy on four cases by 1847 and was also allowed to perform operations on the cadaver.

Haynes Walton visited other hospitals, and whilst House Surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital is said to have introduced Liston's long splint for fractures of the thigh from the then North London Hospital (University College Hospital), Earle's bedstead, or Vincent's short splints with the patient on his side, being previously in use; from these resulted shortened and curved limbs.

Walton went on to Paris and took out a course of operative surgery under Petit and Estivigué. After this he started practice in Bernard Street, Russell Square. He had not yet obtained the FRCS, and being therefore ineligible for appointment at the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital, he started a Free Eye Dispensary which developed into the Central London Ophthalmic Hospital. It soon found favour, and claimed in 1853 to have a larger attendance of out-patients than any of the other eye hospitals in the country.

Having become FRCS in 1848, he was elected Assistant Surgeon and Ophthalmic Surgeon to St Mary's Hospital in 1851, after a hot canvass of the electorate among the Governors. His senior, John Dalrymple (qv), dying in 1852, he succeeded him as Surgeon to St Mary's Hospital, as well as to Dalrymple's ophthalmic private practice. He moved to 36 Brook Street, London, W, and doubled his income. At St. Mary's Hospital he also served for a time as Lecturer on Anatomy, Clinical Surgery, Teacher of Operative Surgery, and Lecturer on Ophthalmic Medicine and Surgery.

Haynes Walton was a Member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1873-1881. He was a fellow and member of London Medical Societies, Lettsomian Lecturer of the Medical Society in 1861 - when he took as his subject, "The Application of the Ophthalmoscope and its Advantages" - and Medical Officer of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

He hunted with the Queen's hounds, and was a well-known figure riding in the Row or walking in the Park with a number of dogs.

He suffered from an obscure affection of the liver - perhaps acute yellow atrophy - died at his house in Brook Street on Nov 7th, 1889, and was cremated at Woking. He married first the daughter of the Hon H G Reed, of New Court, Gloucester, who died in 1878. By her he had ten children, of whom only three, two sons and a daughter, survived. He married secondly a daughter of Dr Keelan, a naval surgeon, who survived him. There is a woodcut portrait of him in the Medical Circular for 1853, ii, 129.

Walton made many communications on ophthalmic surgery to medical societies and journals; also he published:
A Treatise on Operative Ophthalmic Surgery, 8vo, London, 1853; republished as a 2nd edition, entitled A Treatise on the Surgical Diseases of the Eye, 1861; and as a 3rd edition, Treatise on the Diseases of the Eye, 1875. An American edition appeared in 1853.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England