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Biographical entry Steward, Francis James (1872 - 1940)

MRCS 29 July 1895; FRCS 12 June 1898; MB London 1894; MS 1897; LRCP 1895.

12 January 1872
31 May 1940
Kingswood, Surrey
General surgeon


Born 12 January 1872 at Bitterne, Southampton, the seventh child and fourth son of James Dick Steward, a commander in the service of the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company, and Mary L Harris, his wife. He was educated at Bedford until he entered the medical school at Guy's Hospital in October 1899, to which he was attached during the rest of his life. During his undergraduate career he won the first prize for students in the first, second, and fourth years, the Beaney prize for pathology, and the Treasurer's medal and prize for clinical medicine and surgery. He served as house surgeon, demonstrator of anatomy, and clinical assistant in the throat department. In 1900 he was appointed to the post of fifth assistant surgeon, was given charge of the laryngological department, and lectured on operative surgery and surgical pathology. He became surgeon in 1912, and was elected consulting surgeon on his resignation of the post in 1932.

At the University of London he obtained the gold medal for chemistry at the first MB, the gold medal for anatomy and physiology at the second MB, and first-class honours in medicine, forensic medicine, and obstetric medicine at the final examinations. At the Royal College of Surgeons he served as a member of the Council 1920-36, was a vice- president 1926-28, and was its representative on the General Medical Council 1932-36.

Steward was one of the first medical assessors to be appointed, and in that capacity he sat with a county court judge as advisor when cases arose for consideration under the Workmen's Compensation Act. On 18 June 1915 he was gazetted major, RAMC (T), and was subsequently promoted lieutenant-colonel. He married on 4 July 1900 Edith Mary Graham. She survived him with a son, Graham Villiers Steward, MRCS 1930, an elder son having been killed accidentally in British Guiana. He died on 31 May 1940 at his house, Kingswood, Surrey; Mrs Steward died on 28 March 1941.

Steward was a good but slow operator, with a distinct inclination towards the surgery of the throat, although he practised general surgery. An influence for all that was good and honest, it was said that he set an example of surgical conduct which was somewhat higher than might have been thought possible, and that his personality invited co-operation rather than obedience. To all at Guy's Hospital he was known affectionately as "Frankie". His home life was ideally happy. He shone in the work of committees both at the hospital and at the College of Surgeons, for he was a master of detail and of procedure.

The operations of surgery, with W H A Jacobson. 4th edition, London, 1902.
Two lectures on urinary calculus. Clin J 1913, 41, 390 and 409.
Joint editor of the Guy's Hospital Reports with Thomas Bryant, 1901-05; and with Herbert French, 1906-22.
Treatment of septic peritonitis. Brit med J 1920, 1, 527.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1940, 1, 1099, with portrait, a good likeness; Brit med J 1940, 1, 1038; Guy's Hosp Gaz 1940, 54, 171 and 187; information given by his son, Dr G V Steward; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England