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Biographical entry Black, James (1852 - 1935)

MRCS 28 January 1875; FRCS 9 December 1880; BA Cambridge 1877; MB 1887; LSA 1877.

27 December 1852
Finchley, Middlesex
13 April 1935
Rotherfield, Sussex
Anatomist and General surgeon


Born at Finchley, Middlesex, 27 December 1852, the fifth child of Thomas Black, merchant and Mary Guy, his wife. He was educated at the Cholmley Grammar School, Highgate and matriculated in the University of Cambridge from Caius College in January 1874. He was a scholar of the college from Michaelmas 1875 until Lady Day 1876 and graduated BA in 1877 after he had been placed in the third class of the Natural Sciences Tripos Part I, 1876.

He received his medical education in the medical school at Cambridge under Prof Clifford Allbutt and Prof Humphry, FRCS and afterwards went to St Thomas's Hospital, where he was house surgeon. At Westminster Hospital he was at first demonstrator and later lecturer on anatomy from 1879 to 1883, posts he resigned when the Westminster Hospital ceased to teach anatomy and physiology, subjects which were undertaken by the medical school at King's College, London. From 1884 to 1887 he examined in elementary anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was for some years assistant surgeon at the North West London Hospital, and after serving as surgical tutor he was elected aural surgeon to Westminster Hospital in 1886, a position he resigned in 1895, when he was succeeded by Philip R W de Santi, FRCS. In 1890 he left 10 Wimpole Street and retired to Beulah Hill, SE.

He married Clara Anne Fleming in 1875, who survived him with a son, John Black, LDS, his elder son, Guy Black, MB London, having been killed in the war of 1914-18. He died on 13 April 1935 at Hillcroft, Rotherfield, Sussex and was buried at St Denys', Rotherfield. Black was an excellent anatomist and W G Spencer said of him that "he was the most rapid draftsman with coloured chalks on the blackboard that I happen to have known".

A case of trephining for supposed abscess in the temporosphenoidal lobe. Proc Med Soc Lond. 1887, 10, 254.
Case of cervical ribs. Proc Anat Soc Great Britain, 1897-98, pp. Xlvii-i.
Treatment of alarming symptoms occurring in suppurative disease of the middle ear. Graduation thesis for MB Cambridge, 1887.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1935, 1, 1020; information given by Mrs Black and by W G Spencer, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England