Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Taylor, Henry Herbert (1858 - 1942)

MRCS 22 July 1880; FRCS 8 December 1887; LRCP 1881; JP Sussex.

21 September 1858
25 May 1942
Steyning, Sussex
Ophthalmic surgeon


Born 21 September 1858 at 8 Morden Terrace, Lewisham, fourth child and third son of Francis Taylor, of the Audit Office, and Eliza Deakin, his wife. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, entering in 1870, and at St George's Hospital Medical School, where he was Brackenbury prizeman and Thompson medallist, and then served as house surgeon and house physician at the West London Hospital.

Taylor was at that time a noted Rugby football player, when St George's, though a small school, had a remarkably strong team. Taylor succeeded W E Collins, also of St George's (1853-1934), MRCS 1876, afterwards of Wellington, New Zealand, as half-back in the English XV v Scotland in 1879 and played for England till 1882. F Marshall in his book of Rugby football said: "He was a first-rate half-back, wonderfully quick on the ball and at utilizing an opening in his adversaries' defence; he ran low and very strongly, though not very fast. His tactics in point of attack were his best points, and he did excellent service for England". He scored twice against Scotland in 1880 and twice against Ireland in 1881; he was a prominent member of Blackheath Club.

Taylor practised for a time from his father's house at Lewisham, and in 1884 became resident medical officer at the Brompton Hospital for the Chest, under Percy Kidd, MD (1851-1942), half-brother to F S Kidd, FRCS. In 1890 he settled at Brighton, living first at No 10 and later at No 36 Brunswick Square, Hove. He specialized as an ophthalmologist and was surgeon to the Sussex Eye Hospital. He also became consulting surgeon to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children, Brighton. He was a JP for Sussex, an alderman of Hove town council, and chairman of the watch committee. In these positions he took a practical interest in child welfare, promoting the establishment of juvenile courts and psychiatric examination of young offenders. He was an excellent expert witness.

During the first world war he served at No 19 (2nd Eastern) General Hospital, Brighton, having been commissioned captain à la suite on the formation of the RAMC(T), 27 April 1908, and promoted brevet major, 3 June 1917. He was also officer commanding the Ophthalmic Centre for Sussex. He was a member of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom, and became president of the Brighton and Sussex Medico-chirurgical Society. He was treasurer of the Brighton meeting of the British Medical Association in 1913, but later left the local branch owing to disagreement about health insurance. Taylor married twice: (1) on 3 March 1891 Florence Marie Abbott; and (2) on 27 July 1937 Mrs Alice Hall, a widow, who survived him. There were no children of either marriage. After retiring he lived at Jarvis, Steyning, Sussex, where he died on 25 May 1942, aged 83, from a cerebral stroke; he was buried at Steyning.

On a case of actinomycosis hominis, with R D Powell, R J Godlee, and E Crookshank, Med-Chir Trans, 1889, 72, 175.
On the treatment of phthisis by the inhalation of superheated air. Trans Clin Soc Lond 1889-90, 23, 236.
On Jenner and vaccination. Prov med J 1889, 8, 342.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1942, 1, 692, Brit J Ophthal 1942, 26, 335; information given by Mrs Taylor and by R R James, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England