Thomas Richardson Colledge

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Dr. Colledge after completing an ophthalmic operation on a Chinese woman (painted by George Chinnery) Thomas Richardson Colledge, M.D., and His Assistant Afun in Their Ophthalmic Hospital, Macau, by George Chinnery, 1833, oil on canvas - Peabody Essex Museum - DSC07360.jpg
Dr. Colledge after completing an ophthalmic operation on a Chinese woman (painted by George Chinnery)
Dr. Colledge's ophthalmology clinic in Macau Dr Colledge's Eye Hospital.png
Dr. Colledge's ophthalmology clinic in Macau
Colledge and his wife Caroline Thomas & Caroline Colledge.jpg
Colledge and his wife Caroline

Thomas Richardson Colledge (11 June 1797 – 28 October 1879) was an English surgeon with the East India Company at Guangzhou (Canton) who served part-time as the first medical missionary in China, and played a role in establishing the Canton Hospital. In 1837 he founded and served as the first president of the Medical Missionary Society of China.

Surgeon physician with surgical specialty

In modern medicine, a surgeon is a physician who performs surgical operations. There are also surgeons in podiatry, dentistry maxillofacial surgeon and the veterinary fields.

Guangzhou Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.

The Canton Hospital (廣州博濟醫院) or Ophthalmic Hospital in Canton, also known as the Canton Pok Tsai Hospital, was founded by Protestant medical missionary Peter Parker (1804-1888) in Canton, China on November 4, 1835. The hospital treated thousands of patients in need, became the center for the Medical Missionary Society in China, and still exists today as one of the most prestigious ophthalmic institutes in the world.



Colledge was born in Kilsby Northamptonshire on 11 June 1797, and received his early medical education under Sir Astley Cooper, before formal training (late in life) at Aberdeen University graduating MD in 1839, aged 43. [1]

Astley Cooper English surgeon and anatomist

Sir Astley Paston Cooper, 1st Baronet was an English surgeon and anatomist, who made historical contributions to otology, vascular surgery, the anatomy and pathology of the mammary glands and testicles, and the pathology and surgery of hernia.

He earlier had found a position with the Honourable East India Company and through them practised in Canton and Macau and some other Chinese ports, first under the Hon. East India Company, and then under the crown, and was superintending surgeon of the Hospitals for British Seamen.

Macau Special Administrative Region of China

Macau or Macao, officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With a population of 653,100 in an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.

During his residence in Canton and Macau he originated the first infirmary for the indigent Chinese, which was called after him, Colledge's Ophthalmic Hospital. He was also the founder, in 1837, of the Medical Missionary Society in China, and continued to be president of that society to the time of his death. On the abolition of the office of surgeon to the consulate at Canton in May 1841, and his consequent return to England, deep regret was expressed by the whole community, European and native, and a memorial of his services was addressed to her majesty by the Portuguese of the settlement of Macau, which caused Lord Palmerston to settle on him an annuity from the civil list. Before he left Asia, Colledge mentored an American surgeon, Peter Parker, who became the first full-time medical missionary to the Chinese.

Peter Parker (physician) American physician and a missionary

Peter Parker was an American physician and a missionary who introduced Western medical techniques into Qing Dynasty China. It was said that Parker "opened China to the gospel at the point of a lancet."

Colledge took the degree of M.D. at King's College, Aberdeen, in 1839, became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 1840, a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1844, and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, England, 1853.

Kings College, Aberdeen College of University of Aberdeen

King's College in Old Aberdeen, Scotland, the full title of which is The University and King's College of Aberdeen, is a formerly independent university founded in 1495 and now an integral part of the University of Aberdeen. Its historic buildings are the centrepiece of the University of Aberdeen's Old Aberdeen campus, often known as the King's or King's College campus.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh organization

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) is a Medical Royal College in Scotland. It is one of three organisations that sets the specialty training standards for physicians in the United Kingdom. It was established by Royal Charter in 1681. The college claims to have 12,000 fellows and members worldwide.

Royal Society of Edinburgh academy of sciences

The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland. It was established in 1783. As of 2017, it has more than 1,660 Fellows.

The last thirty-eight years of his life were spent in Cheltenham, where he won universal esteem by his courtesy and skill. He died at Lauriston House, Cheltenham, 28 Oct. 1879, aged 83. His widow, Caroline Matilda, died 6 Jan. 1880.

Cheltenham Place in England

Cheltenham is a regency spa town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs in 1716 and has a number of internationally renowned and historic schools.


  1. A Letter on the subject of Medical Missionaries, by T. R. Colledge, senior surgeon to his Majesty's Commission printed at Macau, China, 1836
  2. Suggestions for the Formation of a Medical Missionary Society offered to the consideration of all Christian Nations Canton, 1836.

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