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Biographical entry Hutchinson, Jonathan (1859 - 1933)

MRCS 21 July 1880; FRCS 13 November 1884.

27 March 1933
Ophthalmic surgeon


Jonathan Hutchinson, like his distinguished father Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, was surgeon to the London Hospital. When he was born at Reigate in 1859 it was still possible for a surgeon to be encyclopaedic. Few advances had been made: Lister was still a physiologist; anaesthesia was on its trial; the microscope was but little used, for the staining and hardening of tissues was in its infancy; the ophthalmoscope and laryngoscope were new instruments. He lived to see everything changed, for he lived in the very heart of scientific surgery both at home and in the hospital. Educated at University College School, then in Gower Street, he entered the London Hospital Medical College in October 1876, having gained the Buxton scholarship in arts. During his student career he was awarded honorary certificates in anatomy, physiology, and chemistry, and won the medical scholarship. He qualified MRCS in 1880, and was admitted FRCS on 13 November 1884, after serving as house surgeon to Frederick Treves. In the Medical College he was appointed assistant demonstrator of anatomy in 1882, and filled the post of demonstrator during 1893-95. At the Hospital he was elected surgical registrar in 1885 and served until 1889, when he became assistant surgeon, succeeding to the full staff in 1898, and becoming consulting surgeon in June 1920. He showed a versatility comparable with that of his father, for he filled the office of clinical assistant at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields, was ophthalmic surgeon to the Great, now Royal, Northern Hospital, and was surgeon to the Lock Hospital.

He began his connexion with the Royal College of Surgeons of England by winning the Jacksonian prize in 1888 with an essay on The diagnosis, effects, and treatment of injuries to the epiphyses of long bones; the prize was awarded to him again in 1914, when he competed with The pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. The honour was great, for in the long previous history of the Jacksonian prize it had been gained more than once only by Joseph Swan in 1817 and 1819, by George Calvert in 1822, 1823, and 1824, and by Rutherford Alcock in 1839 and 1841. He delivered the Erasmus Wilson lecture in 1892 on Syphilitic affections of bones, joints and the lymphatic system, and in the following year he spoke on Injuries to the epiphyses and their results in his capacity as Hunterian professor of surgery and pathology. He was a member of the Court of Examiners 1911-21, and was elected a member of the Council in 1913. This honourable position he resigned in 1914, as no member of the Council can compete for the Jacksonian prize. Although he was never greatly interested in committee work he acted as honorary secretary of the Medical Society of London, was a member of the Pathological Society and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, then a somewhat exclusive body, as early as 1888. He lived during the greater part of his professional life at 1 Park Square, Regent's Park, where he died on 27 March 1933, having survived his wife, Caroline Linnell, for nine years. In an annexe to the house there was long maintained the clinical museum collected by his father, which was used to illustrate post-graduate lectures at the Policlinic.

Hutchinson showed many of the best traits of his quaker ancestry and upbringing. Quiet in speech, courteous in manners, endowed with a sober humour and a love of artistic shape and colour, he was so reserved that his life was spent in domestic peace and comfort. He did everything conscientiously and to the very best of his ability. He was a good clinical teacher, and a fine but not a showy operator. His interests were manifold and were not confined to his profession, for he became interested in Japanese and English art and was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club. As a good citizen he took an active part in maintaining the amenities of the district in which he lived. He wrote comparatively little.

Aids to ophthalmic medicine and surgery. London, 1889; 3rd edition, 1900.
The surgical treatment of facial neuralgia. London, 1905.
On facial neuralgia and its treatment, with especial reference to the surgery of the fifth nerve and the Gasserian ganglion. London, 1919.
Hernia and its radical cure. London, 1923.
He edited the second (1903) and third (1909-10) editions of Treves's Manual of operative surgery, and wrote the articles on Gonorrhoea, Diseases of the skin, and Syphilis in Treves's System of surgery, 1895-96, and edited the 2nd (1904), 3rd (1911), and 4th (1924) editions of Treves's Students' handbook of surgical operations.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 28 March 1933, pp lb and 16f; Brit med J 1933, 1, 634; information given by the Secretary, London Hospital Medical College].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England