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Biographical entry Mansell-Moullin, Charles William (1851 - 1940)

CBE 1919; MRCS 2 August 1876; FRCS 12 December 1878; BA Oxford 1872; BM MA 1876; DM 1879.

24 October 1851
10 November 1940
General surgeon


Born in Guernsey on 24 October 1851, the second child and second son of James Mansell Moullin, MRCS, who was then surgeon to St Mary de Castro Hospital in the Island, and his wife Matilda Emily Grigg of Newbury, Berks. His father moved afterwards to 80 Porchester Terrace, London, W2, and practised there for many years, becoming district accoucheur at St Mary's Hospital. Charles was educated at a private school and matriculated from Pembroke College, Oxford, after obtaining a scholarship on 26 October 1868. He gained a second class in classical moderations in 1870 and a first class in the final school of Natural Science in 1872. In 1877 he was elected to the medical Fellowship at Pembroke College and held it until 1886. He won the Radcliffe Travelling Fellowship in 1875 and took postgraduate courses in Vienna, Paris, and Strassburg, and was an examiner in the final school of Natural Science in 1883. Receiving his medical education at St Bartholomew's Hospital, he filled the offices of house surgeon, house physician, and assistant chloroformist.

Finding that there was a likelihood of a surgical vacancy on the staff of the London Hospital, he applied for and was elected surgical registrar there in 1880, became assistant surgeon in 1882, then surgeon, and finally consulting surgeon on his retirement in 1909. In the Medical School attached to the Hospital he lectured on comparative anatomy, was senior demonstrator of anatomy, lecturer on physiology and subsequently on surgery. At the Royal College of Surgeons he was an examiner in physiology 1884-92, was a member of the Council 1902-15, and vice-president. He was a Hunterian professor of surgery and pathology in 1892 and 1914. He delivered the Bradshaw lecture in 1912 "On the biology of tumours". During the war he served with the rank of brevet colonel, RAMC(T), at the second London General Hospital and was decorated CBE as a reward for his services.

He married Edith Ruth Thomas in 1885. She survived him with one son, who entered the RAF; Mrs Mansell-Moullin died on 5 March 1941. He died on 10 November 1940 at 2 Cottesmore Court, W8, aged 89. Mansell-Moullin was one of the most brilliant graduates of University of Oxford trained under the old regulations when biology, taught as a whole, was based on a sound training in Latin and Greek. Quiet and unassuming, his career at the London Hospital was somewhat overshadowed by that of his colleague and contemporary, Sir Frederick Treves. He worked untiringly with his wife for more than twenty-five years to secure for women the right to be trained as doctors, and was a prominent supporter of the Suffragette movement.

His surgical work fell into three periods. At the beginning he was interested in genito-urinary surgery, and his Hunterian lectures in 1892 dealt with the operative treatment of enlarged prostate. He then turned to the stomach and appendix, and even in 1900 could show excellent results from gastro-enterostomy. He often operated for gastric haemorrhage. From 1910 onwards he became absorbed in seeking the origin of carcinoma. He was a rapid operator, and it was told of him that once when removing a testicle his reply to the statement by the anaesthetist that "The patient is ready now, Sir", was "Thank you, I have just finished and am putting in the last suture". He was a sound practical teacher, who inspired loyalty and affection in his house surgeons and dressers. His textbook of surgery, though very good, never achieved popularity.


On the pathology of shock (MD thesis). London, 1880.
Sprains, their consequences and treatment. London, 1887: 2nd edition, 1894.
Surgery. London, 1891; 3rd edition, 1895.
The operative treatment of enlargement of the prostate (Hunterian lectures). London, 1892.
Enlargement of the prostate, its treatment and radical cure. London, 1894; 4th
edition, 1911.
Inflammation of the bladder and urinary fever. London, 1898.
The surgical treatment of ulcer of the stomach. 1902.
When to operate in inflammation of the appendix. 1908.
The biology of tumours (Bradshaw lecture). 1912.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 12 November 1940, p9b, and 27 November 1940; Lancet, 1940, 2, 669, with portrait, a fair likeness; Brit med J 1940, 2, 725; London Hosp Gaz 1941, 44, 61, with portrait; information given by Mrs Mansell-Moullin; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England