Sir Thornley Stoker, 1st Baronet

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William Thornley Stoker

Sir William Thornley Stoker, 1st Baronet (6 March 1845 – July 1912) was an eminent Irish medical writer, anatomist and surgeon.


His parents were Abraham Stoker (1799–1876), from Dublin, and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley (1818–1901), who came from Ballyshannon, County Donegal. Stoker was the eldest of seven children and the brother of the writer Bram Stoker. He was educated at a private school in England and at the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, and Queen's College, Galway, where he obtained his M. D. degree in 1866.[1] During the later part of his life he lived at Ely House in Ely Place, Dublin, where he entertained many visitors, artists and writers.[2]

Medical career[edit]

Ely House on Ely Place

He began his career by teaching medicine. After a few years he was appointed surgeon to the Royal City of Dublin hospital. In 1873 he moved on to the Richmond Hospital.

For several years from 1876 he held the chair of Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, until his other interests became too pressing. From 1876 he was surgeon to Swift's Hospital (founded by Jonathan Swift), and a Governor of both it and the Richmond Hospital. Together with his brother-in-law and hospital colleague Richard Thomson he founded the school of nursing at the Richmond and oversaw the construction of the surgical facilities there in 1899. He succeeded Richard Thomson as Inspector of Vivisection for Ireland.[2]

All the time he was active in hospitals he was a frequent contributor to the Dublin Journal of Medical Science and similar journals on a variety of medical topics, but took a special interest in surgery of the spino-cerebral cavity.[1] He campaigned against the Workhouse system and cruelty to animals.[2]

In 1896 he became President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and was from 1903 to 1906 President of the Royal Academy of Medicine. He was very interested in art. He was Professor of Anatomy at the Royal Hibernian Academy and a governor of the National Gallery of Ireland.[2] He resigned from many of his medical duties in 1910, due to fatigue. The following year he was created a baronet, of Hatch Street in the City of Dublin. He died in June 1912, aged 67, when the baronetcy became extinct.

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Obituary, Issue Volume 134, Number 1 / July, 1912". Dublin: Dublin Journal of Medical Science. 1912. pp. 76–80. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary, 15 July, 1912". London: British Medical Journal. 1912. p. 1399. 
  • Fleetwood, John F (1983). The History of Medicine in Ireland. Dublin: Skellig Press.