Mason, Francis (1837-1886) (DNB00)

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MASON, FRANCIS (1837–1886), surgeon, youngest son of Nicholas Mason, a lace merchant, of Wood Street, Cheapside, London, was born at Islington'on 21 July 1837. He received his early education at the Islington proprietary school, of which John Jackson [q. v.], afterwards bishop of London, was then the headmaster. He afterwards went to the King's School, Canterbury, and, matriculating at the London University, he pursued his medical studies at King's College, London, of which he was made an honorary fellow. In the medical school attached to King's College he became a friend of Sir William Fergusson [q. v.], who esteemed his surgical skill so highly as to make him his private assistant. He was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on 25 July 1858. He served as house-surgeon at King's College Hospital 1859-60, and was granted the diploma of fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 11 Dec. 1862.

In 1863 he was appointed an assistant-surgeon to King's College Hospital, and surgeon to the St. Pancras and Northern Dispensary. In 1867 he became assistant-surgeon to, and lecturer on anatomy at, the Westminster Hospital, becoming full surgeon there in 1871. Mason was invited to join the medical staff of St. Thomas's Hospital as assistant-surgeon and lecturer on anatomy when the new buildings of that institution were opened in 1871. He accepted the invitation, and became full surgeon in 1876, when he resigned the lectureship of anatomy for that of practical surgery.

He filled many important offices at the Medical Society of London, being orator in 1870, Lettsomian lecturer in 1878, president in 1882, and subsequently treasurer.

Mason was a man of genial character, generous, hospitable, and possessed of great musical talents. He died of acute erysipelatous inflammation of the throat on Saturday, 5 June 1886, leaving a widow without children. He is buried at Highgate. There is a portrait of Mason in the medical committee-room at St. Thomas's Hospital.

He published:

  1. 'On Harelip and Cleft Palate,' 8vo, London, 1877.
  2. 'On the Surgery of the Face,' 8vo, London, 1878.

He was editor of the 'St. Thomas's Hospital Reports,' vols. ix-xiv. (1879-86).

[Obituary notices in St. Thomas's Hospital Reports, new ser. 1886, xv. 249; Lancet, 1886, i. 1144; Transactions of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society, lxx. 17; information supplied by Mrs. Mason.]

D’A. P.