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Biographical entry Williamson, George Edward (1851 - 1900)

MRCS April 21st 1874; FRCS June 13th 1878; LSA 1875; MA Durham (by diploma) 1888; 1st MB Lond 1873.

North Shields
6 June 1900


Born at North Shields, and received his professional training at the London Hospital and Moorfields. He held the posts of House Surgeon and House Physician at the London Hospital, and formed friendships with some distinguished members of the visiting staff. In 1876 he was elected Senior House Surgeon to the Newcastle Infirmary, and discharged his duties with great ability and conscientiousness. He became Assistant to Professor George Y Heath, then at the height of his fame as an ophthalmologist, and eventually started in practice on his own account in 1879. He began as an eye specialist and was shortly afterwards appointed Joint Lecturer on Physiology in the University of Durham College of Medicine. This appointment he held until the death of his friend and colleague, Professor W Christopher Arnison, when he joined Professor Frederick Page in the Chair of Surgery.

In 1880 he was appointed Assistant Surgeon at the Newcastle Infirmary, and an outdoor ophthalmic department was then first created and placed under his care. Here much admirable work was done for numerous patients, and a high order of instruction was imparted to students. In 1888 Williamson succeeded Luke Armstrong as full Surgeon.

As a Lecturer in the College of Medicine and at the Infirmary he was clear and terse, and could rebuke an offending student with biting sarcasm as compared with gentler ways. He was a good all-round surgeon. As an operator he was extremely careful as to details. In ophthalmic surgery he showed to the greatest advantage, for he was deft and neat-handed.

He was a man of very even temper and great self-restraint, which gave the impression that he lacked enthusiasm; but under his equable manner lurked extreme tenacity of purpose which enabled him to accomplish much. He shone in debate, never cloaked his meaning, was often severe and prone to contradict, yet fair, reasonable, and persuasive.

For more than twelve years Williamson was Hon Secretary and Treasurer to the North of England Branch of the British Medical Association, and he represented the Branch on the General Council. In 1893 he acted as Hon Secretary to the Branch at the Newcastle Meeting, which he rendered successful, and at the same time he presided over the Section of Ophthalmology and delivered an interesting address. He was, in fact, an excellent and useful Branch Secretary, and did much for the Association and for its members in the North of England. He was a member of the Ophthalmological Society and President of the Northumberland and Durham Medical Society. He was also Examiner in Physiology at the University of Durham.

He died unexpectedly of pneumonia on the morning of June 6th, 1900, at his residence, 8 Eldon Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, survived by a widow and five young sons. He was buried close to the grave of his friend, Professor Arnison, in St Andrew's Cemetery, Newcastle.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England