William Laidlaw Purves (1842-1917)

William Laidlaw Purves (1842-1917) William Laidlaw Purves (1842-1917) was ‘… lecturer and aural surgeon to Guy’s Hospital, London and began a private practice in aural and ophthalmic surgery…’ William Laidlaw Purves was also the founder of the prestigious Royal St George’s Golf Club in Glasgow.

William Laidlaw Purves was a friend of James John Garth Wilkinson and is listed in both of his address books at 20 Stratford Place, Oxford Street, (occupied from 1881). In 1886, William Laidlaw Puves moved his family to a bigger house, keeping Stratford Place as his consulting rooms. (Swedenborg Archive Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson dated 1895. See also Swedenborg Archive A183r Address Book of James John Garth Wilkinson ‘Where is it’ dated 1.10.1892). 


From http://www.library.rcsed.ac.uk/docs/GD_55_William_Laidlaw_Purves_LRCSEd.pdf ‘… William Laidlaw Purves was born 16th April 1842 in 5 Hill Place, Edinburgh, on 16 April 1842, the son of William Brown Purves (1799-1852), who had qualified as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (LRCSEd) in 1835, and subsequently practised as a doctor in Edinburgh. Today, 5 Hill Place is the site of the administrative offices of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

After education at the High School of Edinburgh, he was apprenticed to William Forbes Skene WS but was not attracted to a career in law and matriculated at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. In 1864, he qualified LRCSEd, LRCPE and graduated MD from Edinburgh University later that year with a thesis entitled On bronchocele; a beneficial physiological action. His ‘masters’ included Goodsir, Simpson, Syme and Christison.

After a period of practice in Australia he returned to Europe, taking a particular interest in aural surgery, with further studies in Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Utrecht. In 1874, he was appointed lecturer and aural surgeon to Guy’s Hospital, London and began a private practice in aural and ophthalmic surgery. He died 30th December 1917

… 18th January 1862 – 3rd October 1862 In 1862 William Laidlaw Purves joined the SS Polynia at Dundee, sailing to Newfoundland and back and he kept a journal. a) Bound volume b) loose pages in an envelope marked “Greenland journal”. Journal includes line drawn maps, a letter edged in black, (from Queen Victoria to the Duchess of Sutherland); a 1902 news-cutting about a ship sinking and an advertisement for a bomb lance for killing whales. c) a third manuscript account of the journey…

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