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Brodie, Sir Benjamin Collins (1783-1862)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0277
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: Brodie, Sir Benjamin Collins (1783-1862)
Date(s): 1816-c1970
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 6 boxes
Name of creator(s): Brodie | Sir | Benjamin Collins | 1783-1862 | 1st Baronet | physiologist and surgeon


Administrative/Biographical history:

Benjamin Brodie was born in 1783. He was educated by his father. At the age of 18 he began anatomical studies by attending the lectures of John Abernethy at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and in 1801-1802 the lectures of James Wilson at the Hunterian School in Great Windmill Street. He learned pharmacy with William Clifton LSA, in Little Newport Street. He became a close friend of the surgeon William Lawrence (1783-1867). Brodie entered St George's Hospital in 1803, as a surgical pupil of Sir Everard Home, and was appointed House Surgeon in 1805. He was then Demonstrator to the Anatomical School. He assisted Home in private operations and his researches on comparative anatomy with William Clift at the Hunterian Museum in the RCSEng. He continued his study of anatomy at the Great Windmill Street School, where he demonstrated jointly with Wilson until 1812. He also delivered an annual course of surgical lectures at the school, from 1808-1830. He was elected Assistant Surgeon to St George's Hospital in 1808, and Senior Surgeon,1822-1840. He bagan private practice in 1809, in a house in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, London. He moved to Savile Row in 1819. He became the personal surgeon of King George IV (having assisted at an operation to remove a tumour from his scalp) in 1828, and was made sergeant-surgeon under William IV in 1830. He continued under Queen Victoria. Brodie supported the foundation of the London Medical Gazette in 1827, to counter the assertions of Thomas Wakley, in The Lancet, that hospital surgeons and the council of the RCSEng were corrupt. Brodie was admitted MRCS in 1805. He was Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology at the College, 1819-1823. He became President in 1844. He was elected a member of the Society for the Improvement of Medical and Chirurgical Knowledge (a club that John Hunter had helped to found). He was elected to the Royal Society in 1810, and was awarded the Copley Medal in 1811. He was a member of the Royal Society's select dining club, the Assistant Society for the Improvement of Animal Chemistry (with Home, Humphry Davy and others), 1808-1825. He was President of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society in 1839. He became the first President of the General Medical Council in 1858, and in the same year he was the first surgeon to be elected President of the Royal Society (he resigned in 1861). He died in 1862.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Benjamin Brodie, 1816-c 1970, comprising manuscript notes by Brodie, for his lectures on Physiology, 1820-1823; Brodie's manuscript autobiography, c 1855; 2 typescript copies of Brodie's autobiography; 4 manuscript receipt books of fees paid to Brodie, 1816-1860; Brodie's prescription book, c 1850; manuscript letters including 7 letters to Dr W J Little, prescriptions, a letter of recommendation, and letters of admittance to the RCS Museum, c 1841-1859; manuscript notes of observations whilst inspecting the body of Mr Scott, 11 Sep 1811; map of Broome Park, former home of Brodie, c 1946; ephemera including notes and a photograph relating to Peter Martin, who attended Brodie in his last illness; a photocopy of a poem about Brodie from Punch, 1858; photographs of Brodie's gravestone; photographs of Brodie-related buildings and memorials, c 1970; and an undated diploma from Philadelphia, and a diploma from the University of Giessen, Germany, 1850.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted.

Finding aids:

Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (1928) by Victor G Plarr.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The receipt books of fees, manuscript of Brodie's autobiography, photographs of Broome Park and other Brodie-related buildings were donated by Sir Benjamin Brodie, 4th Baronet, (great-grandson) via Dr Lawrence Dulake, in 1969. The remainder of the collection was donated during the 1960s-1970s, mainly by Sir Benjamin Brodie via Dulake.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct 2008

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