Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Marshall, James Cole (1876 - 1952)

MRCS 8 November 1900; FRCS 10 December 1903; LRCP 1900; MB BS London 1901; MD 1904.

3 March 1876
Blandford, Dorset
24 December 1952
Gynaecologist and Ophthalmic surgeon


Born on 3 March 1876 at Blandford, Dorset, the third child and eldest son of James Marshall, who was in business there, and Emily Cole his wife, he was educated at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, and St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he won a certificate of honour in anatomy in 1896. Marshall was at first interested in gynaecology and held resident posts at Queen Charlotte's, the Chelsea Hospital for Women, and the Samaritan Hospital, and in charge of the gynaecological wards at the West London Hospital. He also worked at Great Ormond Street and the Golden Square Throat Hospital.

He took the MD in 1904 and, his interest turning to ophthalmology, became clinical assistant at the Royal Eye Hospital in 1905. He was senior clinical assistant at the Central London Ophthalmic Hospital, and in 1907 chief clinical assistant at the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, Moorfields. He was also ophthalmic surgeon in charge of the LCC Department at the Victoria Hospital for Children, Chelsea. He was appointed ophthalmic surgeon to the Royal Waterloo Hospital in 1912, and was afterwards ophthalmic surgeon to the LCC Hospital at Lambeth and surgeon to the Western Ophthalmic Hospital, where he ultimately became consulting surgeon. He was honorary oculist to the Royal Academy of Music and to the Royal London Society for teaching the Blind. He was commissioned as Captain, RAMC, on 7 May 1918, and served in 1919 as an ophthalmic specialist with the Army of Occupation on the Rhine.

Marshall was one of the first in England to practise the modern operative treatment of retinal detachment. He devised charts for plotting the retinal tears observed in the fundus oculi. His work in this branch of ophthalmology not only won him a large practice, but attracted surgeons to learn his method, in which he founded a British school. He was efficient, deliberate, and careful, of sound judgment, and a skilful operator. He proved his administrative ability as chairman of the medical committee at the Western Ophthalmic Hospital. He gave the Middlemore lecture at Birmingham in 1935, and was a Hunterian professor at the College in 1938.

Marshall married in 1905 Margaret Compton, who survived him with three daughters. He was a man of balanced and attractive personality, fond of music and painting, and of gardening and watching birds. He practised at 126 Harley Street, and built himself a country house, Compton Cottage, Sarratt Lane, Rickmansworth to which he retired. He died there suddenly on 24 December 1952 aged 76.

Unusual case of cataract in a child. Proc Roy Soc Med 1913, 6, Ophthal. P 105. Electrolytic method of treating detachment of the retina. Ibid 1935, 29, 53-58. Detachment of the retina; operative technique in treatment. Oxford 1936.
Surgical treatment of detachment of retina. Hunterian Lecture, RCS. Lancet 1938, 1, 1033-1037.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1953, 1, 104 by A Rugg-Gunn; information from Mrs Cole Marshall].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England