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Biographical entry Streeter, John Soper (1802 - 1873)

MRCS Aug 6th 1824; FRCS July 6th 1852; LSA 1823.

3 July 1873
General practitioner


Born in Drury Lane, where his father was for long in general practice, and was educated at the united hospitals of Guy's and St Thomas's and at the Middlesex Hospital. After qualifying he joined his father in his practice, and continued to carry it on in the same house until a few years before his death, when he removed to Harpur Street, Red Lion Square. He was one of the pupils of Spurzheim, whose lectures on phrenology he attended and whose cause he advocated both when it was popular and when under the cloud of derision.

He was a man above the ordinary standard both in intellect and acquirements, and found time in a laborious practice to read and to write. Much esteemed by his brethren, he constantly attended the meetings of the Medical Society of London and that of Westminster, and made carefully prepared and somewhat didactic speeches. He served the office of President in the second of these societies in a manner at once urbane and dignified. His biographer, who signs himself "J F C", says of him:

"Though fully impressed with a sense of his own importance, he was one of the kindest and most inoffensive of men. I recollect no instance, during a period of thirty years, of his ever having uttered an offensive word. During the last few years of his life, being in independent circumstances, he became what may be called somewhat of an idle man, devoting himself to reading which was mainly confined to works on medical subjects. He was very fond of chat and was apt to hold his hearer 'by the button'. No matter how urgent was the business of his friend, or whatever excuse he might make to be released, Streeter always managed to arrest him for a time in a manner which was really comical."

Yet he left no enemy behind him and was sincerely mourned by a large circle. He died at 20 Harpur Street on July 3rd, 1873, and was buried in the family vault at Thornton Heath. His photograph is in the College Album.

He is described as being above the middle height, of robust frame, and with a face full of intelligence. His head, says J F C, "might have been moulded into a phrenological model". His likeness is reminiscent of the late Sir John Simon, KCB. He was a Member of the Russell Institute, Hon Fellow (at one time President) of the Physical Society of Guy's Hospital, and Hon Fellow of the Medical Society of London.


Streeter's writings are of some importance and include:
Practical Observations on Abortion, 8vo, with plates and woodcuts, London, 1840. In this he advocated the free use of opium.
An edition of A L Moreau's Icones Obstetricae. A series of sixty plates illustrative of the art and science of midwifery, with tables, fol, London, 1842.
"On Small-pox and its Combination with Pregnancy."- Lancet, 1837-8, i, 611.
"On Whooping-cough."- Lond Med Gaz, 1844, xxxv, 195.
"On Statistics of Cholera of 1832, at St Giles's."- Lancet, 1849, i, 290.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Med Times and Gaz, 1873, ii, 51].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England