William Birmingham Costello

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William Birmingham Costello (1800–1867) was an Irish surgeon, alienist and medical author.


Costello was born near Dublin, and was educated there. He then spent the 1820s in Paris, a student of surgery under Jean Civiale, Guillaume Dupuytren and Charles Louis Stanislas Heurteloup.[1]

In 1829 Costello set up himself in London as a surgeon, specialising in the stone and lithotrity. He wrote journal articles, and lectured in the transient Brewer Street medical school, with John Epps and Michael Ryan.[1] Subsequently he became medical superintendent of Wyke House Asylum, near Isleworth.[2]

In later life Costello lived in Paris, working mostly as a writer. He died there on 15 August 1867.[2]


Costello edited the Cyclopædia of Practical Surgery, including a copious bibliography; of which 12 parts were published in London, 1841–3. Contributors included Walter Hayle Walshe, and John Gay who wrote on "cleft palate".[2][3][4] In his Paris years, Costello was able to complete the work in four volumes (1861), using his own English translations of articles by French surgeons.[1]

Costello wrote also An Address to the Visiting Justices of the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum (1839), and A Letter to Lord Ashley on the Reform of Private Lunatic Asylums (1845).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Symons, John. "Costello, William Birmingham". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6381.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Costello, William Birmingham". Dictionary of National Biography 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  3. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Walshe, Walter Hayle". Dictionary of National Biography 59. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  4. ^  Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1890). "Gay, John (1813-1885)". Dictionary of National Biography 21. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). "Costello, William Birmingham". Dictionary of National Biography 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co.