Thomas Wormald

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Thomas Wormald (1802−1873) was an English surgeon.


Born at Pentonville, London, England in January 1802, was son of John Wormald, a partner in Messrs. Child's bank, and of Fanny, his wife. He was educated at Batley Grammar School in Yorkshire, and then by W. Heald, vicar of Birstal. He returned to London in 1818, and was then apprenticed to John Abernethy the surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. His master soon employed him to make preparations for his lectures, to teach the junior students, and to assist Edward Stanley (1793−1862), the demonstrator of anatomy in the medical school, in preserving specimens for the Pathological Museum. Wormald found time during his apprenticeship to visit the continental schools.

Pentonville Central London area located north-northeast of Charing Cross

Pentonville is an area on the northern fringe of Central London, in the London Borough of Islington. It is located 1.75 miles (2.82 km) north-northeast of Charing Cross on the Inner Ring Road. Pentonville developed in the northwestern edge of the ancient parish of Clerkenwell on the New Road. It is named from Henry Penton, the developer of the area.

Batley Grammar School Free school in Batley, West Yorkshire, England

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Birstall, West Yorkshire village in West Yorkshire, England

Birstall is a village in the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. It is part of Birstall and Birkenshaw ward which had a population of 16,298 at the 2011 census. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated close to the M62 motorway, approximately 6 miles (10 km) south-west of Leeds. The village is situated between Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield.


Wormald was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1824, and Abernethy, who was at this time contemplating the resignation of his anatomy lectureship, made arrangements for Wormald to become the demonstrator of anatomy in place of Stanley, who was to be promoted to the lectureship. But when the time arrived for making the appointment Frederic Carpenter Skey was elected demonstrator, and in October 1824 Wormald was nominated house-surgeon to William Lawrence, then newly appointed surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1826, Wormald was appointed jointly with Skey to give the anatomical demonstrations, and in 1828, when Skey temporarily left the hospital to join the Aldersgate Street school of medicine, Wormald continued to act as sole demonstrator, a position he held for fifteen years. He was elected assistant surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital on 13 February 1838, but it was not until 3 April 1861 that he became full surgeon to the charity. Five years later, on 9 April 1867, he had reached the age of sixty-five, at which the hospital regulations compelled him to resign office. He was appointed consulting surgeon, and retired to his country house in Hertfordshire.

Royal College of Surgeons of England professional body in England, United Kingdom

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At the Foundling Hospital he was surgeon from 1843 to 1864, and his services were so highly appreciated that he was chosen a governor in 1847. At the Royal College of Surgeons of England Wormald held all the important offices. Elected a fellow in 1843, he was a member of the council, 1849−67; Hunterian orator in 1857, examiner 1858−68, and chairman of the midwifery board in 1864. He was a vice-president in 1863−4, and he was elected president in 1865.

Foundling Hospital hospital

The Foundling Hospital in London, England, was founded in 1739 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The word "hospital" was used in a more general sense than it is today, simply indicating the institution's "hospitality" to those less fortunate. Nevertheless, one of the top priorities of the committee at the Foundling Hospital was children's health, as they combated smallpox, fevers, consumption, dysentery and even infections from everyday activities like teething that drove up mortality rates and risked epidemics. With their energies focused on maintaining a disinfected environment, providing simple clothing and fare, the committee paid less attention to and spent less on developing children's education. As a result, financial problems would hound the institution for years to come, despite the growing "fashionableness" of charities like the hospital.

He died at Gomersal in Yorkshire, during a visit, on 28 December 1873, and is buried in Highgate Cemetery. He married Frances Meacock in September 1828, and by her had eight children.

Gomersal village in the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England

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Highgate Cemetery place of burial in north London, England

Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the West Cemetery and the East Cemetery at Highgate Cemetery. Highgate Cemetery is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve. The Cemetery is designated Grade I on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. It is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries in London.

Wormald was the last of the apprentices of John Abernethy, and at his death the last link was snapped which connected St. Bartholomew's Hospital with Hunterian surgery. As a teacher of surgical anatomy Wormald has seldom been surpassed; as a surgeon he was a perfect assistant, while his mechanical genius enabled him to excel in the manipulative parts of his art. His surgical teaching was strictly clinical. He was a pertinent and ready public speaker.


Wormald published (with A. M. McWhinnie) A Series of Anatomical Sketches and Diagrams with Descriptions and References, London, 1838; reissued in 1843. These sketches are true to nature and are not overloaded with detail.

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Power, D'Arcy (1900). "Wormald, Thomas"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co.. Additional facts kindly given by the late P. H. Wormald, esq., and by Robert Grey, esq., treasurer of the Foundling Hospital.

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<i>Dictionary of National Biography</i> Multi-volume reference work

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Power, D'Arcy (1900). "Wormald, Thomas". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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