William Smith

Scope and Content

Three volumes collected by Prof. Smith which bear the bookplate of Owens College Library, Manchester and indicate that they were presented to them by the executors of the later Prof W. Smith.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Smith (1816-1875) was born on 5 May 1816, the son of a well-known Manchester paper-maker and also the nephew of the founder of the Manchester Royal School of Medicine, Thomas Turner (1793-1873). Smith himself studied at the Manchester Royal School of Medicine and qualified as a LSA in 1837 and MRCS on 6 April 1838. Later he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons on 17 April 1873.

After qualifying Smith was appointed House Surgeon to the Manchester Royal Infirmary and became in Honorary Assistant Surgeon in 1847, and then Surgeon in 1849. In addition he worked as surgeon to Cheetham College and to the Manchester School for the Deaf and Dumb. From 1841 he lectured in anatomy and physiology at the Manchester Royal School of Medicine and on the merger of Owens College and the Medical School, was appointed to the Chair of General Anatomy and Physiology.

Smith ran his private practise from 98 Mosley Street and it was here on 10 February 1875 that he suddenly and unexpectedly died whilst attending to a patient. He was immensely popular amongst his students and other professionals in the community, and his sudden death came as a shock to many.

Related Material

A letter from Smith to the Poor Law Commissioners requesting that they consider a registrar of births and deaths in Manchester is held by The National Archives, Kew (MH 12/6039/62).


W. Brockbank The Honorary Medical Staff of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, 1830-1948 Manchester 1965. The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 'Smith, William (1816-1875)' Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online 2013.