Robert Thorpe, known as 'Bob', was educated at Manchester Grammar School and apprenticed to his father, John Thorpe, before continuing his medical education in London. He practiced as a surgeon on Oldham Street, and gained a reputation as a skilled surgeon and anatomist. He was consulting surgeon to MRI from 1812 until 1849 when he resigned due to failing health. Thorpe was also consulting surgeon at St Mary's. First in Lancashire to tie the subclavian artery. Thorpe died on 21 January 1851, aged 63. A portrait of him was presented to MRI after his death.