Samuel Crompton

Administrative / Biographical History

Samuel Crompton (1817-1891) was born on 1 March 1817 at Over Darwen, Lancashire, and was the son of James Crompton (1793-1836) and the grandson of Samuel Crompton (1753-1827), the inventor of the spinning mule. He began his medical education apprenticed to his uncle, Mr Samuel Barton, and ophthalmic surgeon in Manchester. From here he continued his education at the Pine Street School of Medicine, Manchester and also at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London eventually qualifying as a LSA and a MRCS in 1839. Over twenty years later he gained his MD from St Andrews University.

Crompton began his career as a general practitioner and held the role of surgeon to the Salford Royal Hospital, but was perhaps most well regarded for his position as surgeon to Henshaw's Blind Asylum at Old Trafford, Manchester. In 1849 he published a paper relating to the causes of blindness and its prevention, an area he dedicated much of his time to during his career whilst working closely with a number of charities providing relief for the blind. He made several contributions to professional journals relating to other aspects of surgery also, including a series of reports and communications relating to the treatment of burns and scalds in 1847/8. Listings in directories show him to have also being operating a private practice from 71 Grosvenor Street, Chorlton on Medlock.

He was active within the Manchester Medical Society where he served as secretary in 1843 and again from 1856 to 1858 and later became president of the Society in 1860. During his time as secretary he made significant efforts to keep revive the Society at a time when it was struggling for support. It is believed that he was closely involved with the Society's library owing to the presence of his initials in the front of many of the manuscripts in this collection and not just those previously owned by him. This is unsurprising given that he was a well-known bibliophile and general book collector and made a number of contributions to the journal Notes & Queries.

Crompton left Manchester in November 1881, an occasion which was marked by a complimentary dinner and presentation. From Manchester he went to Cranleigh, Surrey where he died at his home in June 1891.


  • Lectures of Thomas Young
  • Notes of Edmund Lyon
  • Clinical Lectures of John Rutherford

Related Material

Biographical notes relating to Samuel Crompton can be found in the Manchester Medical Collection (MMC/2/CromptonS ) also held by UML.

There is a letter from Crompton to the Ministry of Health held at The National Archives, Kew in which he discusses the avoidability of blindness and the necessity of vaccination (MH 12/6040/263).

Bolton Archives and Local hold the family papers of the Crompton Family of Hall i'th'Wood and Bolton (ZCR) which includes some references to Dr Samuel Crompton.

Manchester Archives and Local Studies hold the papers of Dr Edmund Lyon (GB127.M134), which were bequeathed to them by Samuel Crompton and complement the additional papers of Edmund Lyon found in this collection (MMM/17/2).


Elwood & Tuxford Some Manchester Doctors Manchester 1984. Slater's Classified Directories of the Following Important English Towns: Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, and West Bromwich 1847.