Sir Philip Crampton, 1st Baronet

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Philip Crampton

Sir Philip Crampton, 1st Baronet, FRS (7 June 1777 – 10 June 1858) was an eminent Irish surgeon and anatomist.


Crampton was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of a dentist. He was a childhood friend of Theobald Wolfe Tone, the United Irishman, and a cousin, on his mother's side, of Thomas Verner, Grand Master of the Orange Order. He joined the army when young and became an assistant surgeon. When he was appointed surgeon to the Meath Hospital in 1798 he was not yet fully qualified, and went on to graduate in Glasgow in 1800. A few years later he also became assistant surgeon at the Lock Hospital, Dublin and also built up a large private practice at his house in Dawson St. He joined Peter Harkan in teaching anatomy in private lectures, forming the first private school of anatomy and surgery in the city.[1]

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S.) in Ireland for a treatise on the construction of eyes of birds, written in 1813. This was later published, with other writings, in the Dublin Journal of Medical Science.[2]


In 1821, together with Sir Henry Marsh and Dr. Charles Johnston, he founded a children's hospital in Pitt St. (now Balfe St.): the Pitt St. Institution. This hospital was the first teaching children's hospital in Ireland or Great Britain. The main objective of the hospital was to treat sick children in one of the poorest parts of Dublin, The Liberties.[1]

He resigned the chief-surgeoncy of the Lock Hospital when he was appointed surgeon-general to the forces in Ireland. He remained as consulting surgeon to Dr Steevens' Hospital and the Dublin Lying-in Hospital. He was three times president of the Dublin College of Surgeons. He was created a baronet on 14 March 1839.[3][4]

He was always interested in zoological science and played an active part in founding the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland and was many times its president. He was also a member of the Royal Irish Academy.[1]

He died at his residence, 14 Merrion Square, in Dublin.

The Crampton Memorial[edit]

Sir Philip Crampton's memorial in Dublin

The Crampton Memorial, at the junction of College St. with Pearse St. and D'Olier St., was erected from the design of John Kirk the sculptor in 1862. It was of a curious design, consisting of a bust above a fountain and surmounted by a cascade of metal foliage. This monument was locally known in the 19th century as the " water-babe",[5] and later as the "cauliflower", "pineapple" or "artichoke".[6] As it was slowly falling apart, it was removed in 1959.[7] James Joyce references the monument in his novel Ulysses when Leopold Bloom passes the monument and thinks, "Sir Philip Crampton's memorial fountain bust. Who was he?"

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Obituary, British Medical Journal, 26 June 1858
  2. ^ Dublin Journal of Medical Science, January 1839, p. 527
  3. ^ "No. 19710". The London Gazette. 26 February 1839. p. 398.
  4. ^ Boylan, p. 86
  5. ^ Cosgrave
  6. ^ Peter, p. 32
  7. ^ Reinventing Modern Dublin by Yvonne Whelan
  • Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  • Fleetwood, John F (1983). The History of Medicine in Ireland. Dublin: Skellig Press.
  • Peter, A. (1927). Dublin Fragments: Social and Historic. Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co.
  • Cosgrave, Ephraim McDowel; Strangways, L.R. (1908). A Dictionary of Dublin (2nd Edition). Dublin: Sealy, Bryers and Walkers.

External links[edit]

Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Dublin)
Succeeded by
Sir John Crampton