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Biographical entry Poland, John (1855 - 1937)

MRCS 20 May 1879; FRCS 8 June 1882; LRCP 1879.

17 September 1855
22 May 1937
Seal, Kent
General surgeon


Born at Vanburgh Fields, Blackheath, 17 September 1855, the third son and fifth child of Richard Henry Poland, fur merchant, and Harriet Allen, his wife. He was a nephew of Alfred Poland, surgeon to Guy's Hospital, and grandson of Sir W H Poland, sheriff of London, who was knighted on the occasion of the opening of London Bridge by William IV in 1831. He was educated at Guy's Hospital, where he was surgical registrar for two and a half years and demonstrator of anatomy for five years, having won the prize essay at the Guy's Hospital Pupils Society in 1877 with an essay on secondary haemorrhage and the torsion of arteries. In 1881 he was registrar, chloroformist, and acting surgeon at the North Eastern Hospital for Children, and was surgeon to the St Pancras and Northern Dispensary. In 1885 he was elected one of the first surgeons to the newly constituted Miller General Hospital at Greenwich, retained office for twenty-one years, and was complimented with the post of consulting surgeon when he retired in 1906. In 1893 he published the Records of the Miller Hospital, and with characteristic modesty made very slight mention of his own valuable services in connexion with the institution. At the City Orthopaedic Hospital he was appointed assistant surgeon in 1892 and surgeon in 1894. In 1907, when the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital amalgamated with the City Orthopaedic Hospital, he became a surgeon to the combined hospitals, and retired in the following year. His book, Traumatic separation of the epiphyses was described by W H A Jacobson as "a fund of useful knowledge". He married on 31 January 1887 Mary Roberts (d 2 April 1932), daughter of James Glover Denham, consulting engineer, by whom he had two sons. He died at The Homestead, Seal, Kent on 22 May 1937.

John Poland was a man of great industry and of varied interests. For six years he was the indefatigable secretary of the Hunterian Society, where he was orator in 1901 and president in 1906. In 1890 he was president of the West Kent Medical and Chirurgical Society and in 1902-03 he was master of the Skinners Company, one of the twelve great livery companies of the City of London. From 1909 he was commandant of the VAD Hospital at Seal, Kent.

Some points in recent treatment of the deformities of children. Edinburgh, 1891. Records of the Miller Hospital and Royal Kent Dispensary. Greenwich, 1893. Traumatic separation of the epiphyses. London, 1898. 926 pages.
Skiagraphic atlas of the wrist and hand. London, 1898.
A retrospect of surgery during the past century, Hunterian oration of the Hunterian Society. London, 1901.
Editor of E J Chance On the nature, causes, variety, and treatment of bodily deformities. 2nd edition, London 1905-19, 2 vols.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1937, 1, 1311; information given by his younger son, Commander John A Poland, RN, City Marshal of London; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England