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Biographical entry Yearsley, Percival Macleod (1867 - 1951)

MRCS 8 May 1890; FRCS 14 December 1893; LRCP 1890.

24 October 1867
4 May 1951
Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire
Aural surgeon


Born on 24 October 1867, the only child of Stephen Yearsley and Joanna Bowring Chittenden, his wife. His father's father, James Yearsley, was a first cousin of the famous otologist of the same name (see P M Y's letter in British Medical Journal 12 March 1935, 1, 596). The family originated in Yorkshire in the fifteenth century, and P M Yearsley claimed to be fourteenth in the direct male line from an officer of the wardrobe of Henry VI. He was educated at Merchant Taylor's School, which at that time occupied the Charterhouse Buildings, and at the Westminster and London Hospitals. Yearsley practised as an otologist at 23 Harley Street, and held many hospital appointments, the most important being that of senior surgeon to the Royal Ear Hospital. He was also surgeon in charge of the ear department at the Farringdon General Dispensary, and consulting aural surgeon to St James's Hospital, Balham. He was the first aural surgeon appointed to its consultant staff by the London County Council, and did much good work in connexion with the welfare and education of deaf-mutes. He was for many years consulting aural surgeon to the Royal School for the Deaf and Dumb, and did and wrote much to promote acceptance of the electrophonoid method of Zünd-Burguet.

Yearsley was an energetic, open-minded, many-sided man; fond of controversy in his early life, he mellowed with time, and his generous work for the handicapped became widely appreciated. He was a keen volunteer soldier and held the rank of major in the National Reserve during the first world war, 1914-18, and was second in command of the London Army Troops Companies, Royal Engineers (Volunteers). During the second world war, 1939-45, he was a divisional surgeon under the London civil defence authorities. He was interested in general science, and in history, archaeology, and folk-lore. He translated Forel's Sensations des insects, as well as some French otological books. He wrote a fascinating and well-documented record of the illnesses of the Kings of England, and other literary studies and original stories. His professional writings also were sound and successful. After retirement from London practice Yearsley settled at Winscombe, Ethorpe Close, Gerrards Cross, Bucks, and worked as aural surgeon to the Hospital there. He married in 1917 Florence Louise, daughter of C M Cooper, MD; Mrs Yearsley survived him with their one son. He died at his home on 4 May 1951, aged 83. Yearsley was for many years a friend of the College Library, to which from time to time he presented books.


Injuries and diseases of the ear. Rebman, 1897.
Nursing in diseases of the throat, nose and ear. Scientific Press, 1899.
Adenoids. 1901.
Textbook of diseases of the ear. Kegan Paul, 1908.
The abuse of the singing and speaking voice, translated from Malménage de la voix par J G E Moure et A Bouyer. Kegan Paul, 1910.
Translation of Conduction sonore par Ziind-Burguet. 1914.
Throat and ear troubles. Methuen, 1915.
The story of the Bible. Watts, 1922; 2nd edition 1933; 3rd 1948.
A fairy-tale of the sea. Watts, 1923.
The folklore of fairy-tale. Watts, 1924.
The development of speech in the normal child. Brit J Child Dis 1926, 23, 1.
A manual of the electrophonoid method of Zünd-Burguet for the treatment of chronic deafness (auditory re-education). Heinemann, 1927.
The sanity of Hamlet. Bale, 1932.
Otosclerosis, with special reference to aetiology and treatment. Bale, 1933.
Doctors in Elizabethan drama. Bale, 1933.
Le Roy est mort, an account of the deaths of the rulers of England. John Heritage, 1935.
An analysis of over 4000 cases of educational deafness. Brit J Child Dis 1934-35, 31-32 (six articles).
Forel's Sensation des insects, translated.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1951, 1, 1130; information from Mrs Yearsley; personal knowledge].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England