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Biographical entry Square, William Joseph (1813 - 1891)

MRCS May 11th 1835; FRCS (by election) June 10th 1869; LSA 1835.

28 April 1813
Kingsbridge, Devon
17 September 1891
General surgeon and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born at Kingsbridge, South Devon, on April 28th, 1813. He was educated at a private school at Tavistock and at Crediton Grammar School. He entered St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1838, being a fellow-student of Sir James Paget (qv). After further study in Paris, he settled at Plymouth in partnership with Edmund Rendle, and in 1840 was elected Surgeon to the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital. He held the post for thirty-five years and was succeeded by his eldest son, William Square (qv). He was also for thirty-two years Surgeon to the Royal Eye Infirmary.

He was successful as a surgeon, and published a paper on the "Removal of Loose Cartilage from the Knee-joint by Puncturing the Capsule with a Tenotome and Squeezing out the Cartilage into the Subcutaneous Tissue" in the London Medical Review (1861-2, 162). He also published an "Address on Ophthalmic Surgery: its Progress and Present Position" in the British Medical Journal (1860, 715, etc).

He became a Member of the Plymouth Town Council in 1881, was Chairman of the Sanitary Committee and a Poor Law Guardian. He refused the office of Mayor several times. He was an ardent admirer of Shakespeare, and occasionally lectured on his works. His carrier pigeons were known throughout the country. He was an advocate of temperance, and his lecture, "The Medical Aspects of the Temperance Question", was circulated by the Temperance League.

He died after a long illness at 22 Portland Square, Plymouth, on Sept 17th, 1891, leaving a widow and thirteen children; the eldest son, William Square (qv), and another son, James Elliot Square, FRCS, practised with him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit Med Jour, 1891, ii, 774].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England