Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Harrison, Reginald

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HARRISON, REGINALD (1837–1908), surgeon, born at Stafford on 24 Aug. 1837. was eldest son of Thomas Harrison, vicar of Christ Church, Stafford, by Mary his wife. Harrison was educated at Rossall school, and after a short period of probation at the Stafford general hospital, he entered St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He was admitted M.R.C.S. England on 15 April 1869, and in the same year he obtained the licence of the society of apothecaries. He was then appointed house surgeon at the Northern Hospital, Liverpool, and shortly afterwards moved to the Royal Infirmary as senior house surgeon (1860-2), a post which carried with it the duty of attending the city lunatic asylum. He was surgeon to the Cyfarthfa iron works at Merthyr Tydfil (1862-4).

Returning to Liverpool in 1864 as assistant to Mr. E. R. Bickersteth, he practised as a surgeon first at 18 Maryland Street, in 1868 in Rodney Street. In 1864 he was appointed both surgeon to the Liverpool Bluecoat school and demonstrator of anatomy at the Royal Infirmary school of medicine, becoming in 1865 lecturer on descriptive and surgical anatomy in the school, and in 1872 lecturer on the principles and practice of surgery. On 13 Dec. 1866 he was admitted F.R.C.S. England; was surgeon to the Northern Hospital at Liverpool (1867-8); quarantine officer to the port of Liverpool; assistant surgeon to the Royal Infirmary (1867-74), and full surgeon from 1874 until he removed to London in 1889. In October 1889 he was elected surgeon to St. Peter's Hospital for stone and other urinary diseases on the resignation of Walter Coulson.

At the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Harrison was member of the council, 1886-1902, and vice-president, 1894-6. He was Hunterian professor of surgery and pathology 1890-1, when he dehvered a course of lectures on stone in the bladder, enlarged prostate, and urethral stricture. In 1896 he was Bradshaw lecturer, taking as his subject vesical stone and prostatic disorders. In 1903 he visited Egypt officially, on behalf of the college, to inspect the school of medicine at Cairo. He was president of the Medical Society of London in 1890, having delivered there in 1888 the Lettsomian lectures, on the surgery of the urinary organs.

He ceased active professional work in April 1906, when he resigned his post at St. Peter's hospital; he died on 28 April 1908, and was buried at Highgate cemetery. He married in 1864 Jane, only daughter of James Baron of Liverpool, and left one son and two daughters.

Harrison was one of the small band of teachers who raised the Royal Infirmary school of medicine at Liverpool to the position of the well-equipped medical faculty of the University of Liverpool. In 1869 the private school of the infirmary became a joint-stock company, money was raised, and new laboratories were built. Harrison as secretary-manager sought to supply each lectureship as it fell vacant with a young and energetic man who was unhampered by the demands of private practice. The school, thus improved, became University College, which existed as a separate body from 1882 to 1903, when it was merged in the university.

Harrison also took part in establishing the system (on a plan already in vogue in America) of street ambulances which long made Liverpool remarkable amongst the towns of Great Britain. He was active in promoting the Street Ambulance Association for developing the system throughout England, and was president at his death. Harrison's works include:

  1. 'Clinical Lectures on Stricture of the Urethra and other Disorders of the Urinary Organs,' London and Liverpool, 1878.
  2. 'Lectures on the Surgical Disorders of the Urinary Organs,' 2nd edit. 1880; 4th edit. 1893.
  3. 'The Use of the Ambulance in Civil Practice,' Liverpool, 1881.
  4. 'Selected Papers on Stone Prostate, and other Urinary Disorders, 1909.'

[Lancet, 1908, vol. i. p. 822 (with portrait); Brit. Med. Journal, 1908, vol. i. p. 601 (with portrait); Liverpool Medico-Chirurgical Journal, July 1908, p. 251; information kindly given by Mr. Reginald Harrison.]

D’A. P.