Edward Grainger

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Edward Grainger (1797–1824) was an English teacher of anatomy, and dresser to Sir Astley Cooper. Grainger opened an anatomical school in Webb Street, Southwark, London in 1819 after his offer to teach at Guy's Hospital was rejected.

The school was successful until the College of Surgeons changed their by-laws to squeeze the independent schools. The Webb St school was continued by Edward's brother Richard Dugard Grainger after Edward's early death.[1][2]


He was born in Birmingham, the elder son of Edward Grainger who was a surgeon there, and author of Medical and Surgical Remarks (1815). After receiving medical instruction from his father, he entered as a student at St. Thomas's Hospital with Guy's Hospital. in October 1816. He was a dresser to Sir Astley Cooper, who advised him to open an anatomical school in Birmingham after he had become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. When Charles Aston Key was appointed demonstrator of anatomy by Cooper, Grainger was anxious to be made joint demonstrator with him; but failing in that, he opened an anatomical school of his own in June 1819, at a tailor's house in St. Saviour's Churchyard, Southwark, in a large attic, as a dissecting-room.[1]

Grainger began with 30 pupils, and was successful; in the autumn of 1819 he took a building in Webb Street, Maze Pond, close to Guy's, which had been used as a Roman Catholic chapel. Grainger's school had the favour of the resurrection men, speedily rivalled the hospital schools, and drew pupils from them. In 1821 he built a theatre in Webb Street, and was joined by John Armstrong and Richard Phillips. His school grew, despite obstacles put in the way of the students by hospital surgeons in London, especially the council of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1823 he built a larger theatre, and the school had nearly 300 pupils.[1]

Grainger died from consumption at his father's house in Birmingham, on 13 January 1824, having not quite completed his twenty-seventh year.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d  "Grainger, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Adrian Desmond, The Politics of Evolution: morphology, medicine and reform in radical London (1989) Chicago, p. 160.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Grainger, Edward". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.