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The Age of Science

William Hunter 1718- 1783


William Hunter was born at LongCalderwood Farm near Glasgow in 1718. He was educated at Glasgow University in 1731 and later studied medicine at Edinburgh. In 1741, he moved to London. William Hunter quickly became well known as a physician, especially as an obstetrician and built up a distinguished clientele, which included members of the Royal Family. He also established himself as a teacher of surgery and anatomy, and assembled a collection of anatomical and pathological specimens, which were used to support his teaching work. In 1768 he opened a medical school at his house in Great Windmill Street. As his reputation - and wealth - grew, Hunter also collected works of art as well as coins, books, manuscripts and curiosities. After his death in 1783 William Hunter bequeathed his entire collection to Glasgow University, where it formed the basis of the Hunterian Museum which opened in 1807.


John Hunter 1728-1793

John Hunter came to London in 1748 at the age of 20 and worked as an assistant in the anatomy school of his elder brother William.
Under William’s direction, John learnt human anatomy and showed great aptitude in the dissection and preparation of specimens.

 William also arranged for him to study under the eminent surgeons William Cheselden (1688-1752) and Percival Pott (1714-1788). 

In 1790, John Hunter became Surgeon General to the Land Forces and first General of Hospitals. 
John Hunter was a brilliant surgeon and has been labelled the man who made surgery into a science.
Hunter developed amongst numerous things a forerunner of the ventilator we use today although crude using hand bellows.
Unfortunately, Hunter died after only three years in office whilst working at St Georges Hospital. 

Field hospitals appeared until 1793, in Ireland during the Orange wars against James II. Although these were better than nothing at all, they were far behind the armies of Europe.


Quote 61

"Anatomists have ever been engaged in contention. And indeed, if a man has not such a degree of enthusiasm, and love of the art, as will make him impatient of unreasonable opposition and of encroachments upon his discoveries and his reputation, he will hardly become considerable in Anatomy or in any branch of natural knowledge."



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