The first surgeons and physicians

When Addenbrooke’s first opened in 1766 it had three physicians and three surgeons.  The posts were Honorary and they were elected to the post by the Governors of the Hospital.

Surgeons were in general practice at the time as there were not that many surgical procedures available then.  The surgeons were Richard Hayles, Allan Hopkins and Thomas Thackeray. Not much is known about these gentlemen; Thackeray was the most successful and has been apprenticed to, and later partner of Hayles.  Hopkins however was in court in 1759 for body-snatching!!!

The physicians were Russell Plumptre, Robert Glynn and Charles Collignon.  There is much more know about physicians as their education differed to that of the surgeons.  Although also in general practice they often had patients referred to them and could charge higher fees and therefore had a ‘better class’ of practice.

Thackeray, Plumptre and Glynn are known to have been consulted by the local gentry, their fees ranged from £50-£80, that would be between £3,000 and £5,000 today.

It is thought that Plumptre would have known John Addenbrooke, the founder of the Hospital and helped him with his medical teaching.  Plumptre was Regius Professor of Physic for over 50 years.  Glynn stayed at the hospital until 1773 when he resigned, maybe as a result of a quarrel with the Resident Apothecary.

Of the three Collignon took most interest in the hospital and ‘expressed enlightened views on the principles on which patients should be selected for admission to the hospital’.

Addenbrookes c1840


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