Lee was born on 18 February 1817 and was an articled pupil of Richard Partridge [teacher of anatomy at the Royal Academy]. Lee then studied medicine at King's College London, Apothecaries' Hall and St George's Hospital. After qualifying, Lee held junior appointments at MRI, Westminster Lying-in Hospital, London Lock Hospital, King's College Hospital and St George's Hospital between 1834 and 1841. In 1861 Lee was appointed assistant surgeon at St George's Hospital, promoted to full surgeon in 1863. Lee retired in 1878 and became consulting surgeon, before fully retiring from practice in 1895. Lee was also lecturer in pathology and surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons. Lee died on 11 June 1898.