Thomas Spencer Wells 1818-1897

Thomas Spencer Wells was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire the son of William Wells, who was a builder. He received his early education at St Albans School.

In 1836 he enrolled into Trinity College, Dublin, where he studied surgery under Whitley Stokes, Sir Philip Crampton, and Arthur Jacob.

He completed his studies at St. Thomas’s Hospital, London. He went on to serve in the Royal Navy as a surgeon and saw service during the Crimean War.

His reputation in surgery had obtained for him in 1844 the fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, and he subsequently became a member of council, Hunterian professor of surgery and pathology (1878), President (1882) and Hunterian Orator (1883). In 1883 he was made a baronet.

His name is best known in connection with his successful revival of the operation of ovariotomy, which had fallen into disrepute owing to the excessive mortality attending it; and in his skilful hands, assisted by modern surgical methods, the operation lost almost all its danger. Wells was one of the earliest surgeons to make use of anaesthetics in operation.
His book on Diseases of the Ovaries was published in 1865.

Sir Spencer Wells married in 1853 Miss Elizabeth Wright, and had a son and daughters. He died on the 31st of January 1897. His estate at Golder's Hill, Hampstead, was sold after his death to the London County Council and converted into a public park. 334


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