Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pilcher, George

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PILCHER, GEORGE (1801–1855), aural surgeon, son of Jeremiah Pilcher of Winkfield, Berkshire, was born on 30 April 1801, and was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on 2 April 1824. Immediately afterwards he began to practise as a surgeon in Dean Street, Soho, London, and was soon appointed lecturer on anatomy, physiology, and surgery at the Webb Street school of medicine, Snow's Fields, then belonging to his brother-in-law, Richard Dugard Grainger. He was for many years consulting surgeon to the Surrey Dispensary. In 1838 he was awarded the Fothergillian prize at the Medical Society for his treatise ‘On the Structure and Pathology of the Ear,’ and in 1842 he was elected president of the Medical Society of London. When the Webb Street school was reabsorbed into the Borough hospitals from which it had originally sprung, Pilcher became attached to Lane's school, which was affiliated to St. George's Hospital. At that hospital he became lecturer upon surgery on 6 July 1843, and in the same year he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on the foundation of that select class of members. In 1849 he was admitted a member of the council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He died suddenly on 7 Nov. 1855, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

Pilcher was an able surgeon and a good physiologist. He entered upon the practice of aural surgery at a time when the quackery of John Harrison Curtis had raised that speciality to an unenviable notoriety. To Toynbee, Pilcher, Yearsley, and Harvey aural surgery in this country mainly owes the position it now holds in the estimation of the medical profession. Pilcher published: 1. ‘Essay on the Physiology of the Excito-motory System,’ read before the Medical Society, 1835. 2. ‘The Structure, Economy, and Diseases of the Ear,’ with plates, 8vo, London, 1838; 2nd edit. 1842. 3. ‘Some Points in the Physiology of the Tympanum,’ read before the physiological section of the Medical Society of London, 23 Feb. 1854.

[Obituary notice in the Medical Times and Gazette, 1855, ii. 510; information kindly supplied by Roger Eykyn, esq.]

D’A. P.