Notes of Lectures on Anatomy and Physiology by Mr Turner and on Surgery by Mr Ransome

  • Reference
      GB 133 MMM/10/3
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      1 volume, 254 folios Spine has come away, boards are loose, and some pages are brittle

Scope and Content

The manuscript contains two different sets of lecture notes from the same teaching session, one of lectures on anatomy and physiology given by Thomas Turner (1793-1873) and one of lectures on surgery given by Joseph Atkinson Ransome (1805-1867). None of the lectures are individually numbered but there is some attempt at dating, although it is not always very clear.

Turner's lectures cover ff.1-67 and the subjects addressed as you progress through the notes include: natural objects divisible into inorganic or organic, distinction between and properties of the two groups, affinity & repulsion, caloric, stages of life, irritability, two kinds of life of animals, conditions of life, anatomy of passive life, development of active life in vegetables, what is the egg?, development of the ovum, foetal circulation, laws and principles maintaining active life, development of man passes through stages which correspond with permanent condition of lower animals, arrangement of the animal kingdom, animal part of bone, elements of the human body, elementary substances, the fluids, the lymph, the chyle, blood, cuticle, enamel of the teeth, organised textures, lymphatics, elastic membrane, inelastic membrane, elastic solid or cartilage, inelastic solid, mucous membrane, muscular tissue, measurement of the pelvis, composition of bone and animal matter, mollities ossium [osteomalacia], long bones, short bones, flat bones, irregular bones, compact structure of bone, growth of bone, and repairing injury to the bone. These notes ask a number of questions about the structure and formation of life with Turner offering his own opinions and also detailing the thoughts of his contemporaries, especially in relation to the final section on bones. Specific examples and experiments are used throughout to explain the processes and ideas he describes.

Ransome's lectures cover ff.68-254 and the subjects addressed as you progress through the notes include: general view of physiology of health, nutrition, digestion, pepsin to chyme to chyle before forming part of the blood, nutrition within the capillaries, principle of life, nutrition of the brain, nervous system, sympathetic system, chemical character of the blood, deviations from health, irritation, variations in pulse, symptoms indicated by the tongue, rigor, constitutional irritation, cold, inflammation, four symptoms of inflammation (pain, heat, redness, swelling), symptoms, treatment, remote & predisposing causes of inflammation, gangrenous inflammation, adhesive inflammation, subacute & chronic inflammation, various forms of ulcers and ulceration, scirrhous & cephaloma, mode of production of morbid growths, diseases of mechanism, modes of death, temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, bilious, melancholic, nervous), scrofulous tumours, erysipelas, scirrhous & cancer, tumours [neoplasms] (he omitted one lecture), bones & their diseases (caries & ulceration, necrosis, exostosis, interstitial absorption of bone, rickets, curvature of the spine), diseases of joints (wounds, ankylosis, hydrops articuli [hydrarthrosis], psoas & lumbar abscesses, bursae), diseases & injuries of arteries, diseases of absorbents, injuries of the head (concussion, fractures of the skull, simple and compressed, trephining), wounds of the face, suppuration, malignant tumours, order of temporary teeth, suppuration of tonsils, stricture of oesophagus, stomach pump, suffocation from foreign bodies, hernia. When exploring each phenomenon the notes tend to go into detail about the possible causes, pathology, diagnosis, and potential treatments, as well as offering information on the varying views and ideas of contemporary physicians.

There are a number of drawings and small illustrations to accompany and explain certain points throughout the notes from Turner's lectures and a small number in Ransome's lectures also.

Inscriptions in the front cover indicate that the manuscript was donated to the Manchester Medical Society in 1882 and subsequently allocated the reference GO 5730 viz. their 1890 library catalogue.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Turner born in Truro on 13 August 1793 the son of Edmund Turner and Joanna Ferris. He began his medical education as an apprentice to the surgeon Nehemiah Duck in Bristol and October 1815 proceeded to London where he became a student at the united hospitals of Guy's and St Thomas's and studied under Astley Cooper. He qualified LSA and became MRCS in 1816 before heading to Paris to become a pupil of Professor Roue. He returned to UK in 1817 and headed to Manchester where he was appointed as a house surgeon to the Manchester Infirmary. However, illness led to him resigning from this post in September 1820. After a brief spell visiting the teaching hospitals of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London he settled in private practice in Piccadilly, Manchester later the same year.

In 1821 he was elected as member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society where he came into contact with many like-minded scientists and medical men. It was from here in November 1822 that Turner first began giving lectures on anatomy and physiology and in 1824 addressed the Society with his ideas and proposals for a preparatory medical school in Manchester. The Pine Street School of Medicine and Surgery opened in October 1824 with the first series of lectures given in November. Certificates of attendance there were soon recognised by both the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Society of Apothecaries closely followed by the Royal College of Surgeons of London in 1827. It is because of this comprehensive recognition that Turner's school is often regarded as the first complete provincial school of medicine.

Turner's school soon came into competition with that of Joseph Jordan, which had originally opened on Bridge Street in 1814 but moved to new premises on Mount Street in 1826. The rivalry came to an end in 1834 when students and some of the staff transferred from the Mount Street School to Pine Street under the agreement that by doing so Jordan's application to the surgical staff of the Infirmary would no longer be blocked. However, there are reports that the merger was influenced by reports made by the first Inspector of Anatomy who argued that multiple schools in provincial towns that had limited supplies of bodies was immoral. The School became the Royal School of Medicine in 1836 and eventually became the faculty of medicine of Owens College in 1872, to which Turner delivered the inaugural address. He became honorary professor of physiology at the Manchester Royal Institution in 1843 and delivered an annual course of lectures until 1873.

In 1825 Turner was elected as surgeon to the deaf and dumb institution and in 1830 was elected honorary surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, a position he held until his resignation in 1855. He also at times served as medical officer to St Mary's Hospital and to Ancoats Hospital and was instrumental in the founding of the Manchester and Salford Sanitary Association for which he served as president from 1858 until his death.

Turner married Anna Clarke in 1826 and together they had five children. He died in Manchester on 17 December 1873.

Joseph Atkinson Ransome was born in Manchester in 1805 and was the son of surgeon John Atkinson Ransome (1779-1837). He studied first at the Pine Street Medical School in Manchester before spending time at Guy's Hospital, London, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Paris. In 1827 he qualified as a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and in the same year began lecturing and giving anatomical demonstrations at the Pine Street Medical School. He later lectured in chemistry and on the death of his father in 1837 took on the responsibility of surgical lectures.

In 1843 Ransome was elected as surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, a role he continued until 1866 having reached the Infirmary's official retirement age of 60. He also at times served as a surgeon to the Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary and Union Hospital in addition to running a private practice from 1 St Peter's Square. He delivered the introductory address to the Royal Manchester School of Medicine in October of 1843 and also at times served as vice-president of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and the Manchester Medical Society.

Ransome had been affected by a serious illness in 1855 from which he never fully recovered. He died on 6 August 1867 in Flixton, Greater Manchester. His son Arthur Ransome (1834-1922) went on to be a well-respected doctor and one of the leading public health experts in Victorian Manchester.


William Brockbank The Honorary Staff of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1830-1948, Manchester University Press, 1965. Royal College of Surgeons, 'Ransome, Joseph Atkinson (1805-1867)', Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online, 2012 [ accessed 24 June 2016]. Stella Butler, 'Turner, Thomas (1793-1873)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 29 June 2016]. Elwood & Tuxford, Some Manchester Doctors, Manchester University Press, 1984. The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 'Turner, Thomas (1793-1873)', Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online, created Jan 2013, modified Aug 2013.