Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grainger, Edward

GRAINGER, EDWARD (1797–1824), anatomical teacher, elder son of Edward Grainger, a surgeon of Birmingham, who in 1815 published a miscellaneous volume of 'Medical and Surgical Remarks' of considerable interest, was born in Birmingham in 1797. After receiving medical instruction from his father, he entered as a student at the united hospitals (St. Thomas's and Guy's) in October 1816, and soon became noted for his diligence and success as an anatomist. 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 [q. v.] was appointed demonstrator of anatomy by Cooper, Grainger was anxious to be made joint demonstrator with him. Failing to gain this appointment, 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, which he converted into a dissecting-room. He began with thirty pupils, and was so successful that in the autumn 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 securing the favour of the resurrection men, speedily rivalled the hospital schools and drew pupils from them by its superior supply of subjects for dissection, while Grainger's zealous teaching raised its reputation. In 1821 he built a theatre in Webb Street, and was joined by Dr. John Armstrong (1784-1829) [q. v.] and Richard Phillips, a chemist [q. v.] His school grew still more notable, notwithstanding the obstacles put in the way of the students by hospital surgeons in London, especially those composing the council of the College of Surgeons (see Lancet, 18 Feb. 1865, p. 190). In 1823 he built a larger theatre, and the school had nearly three hundred pupils. Grainger's perseverance in combating opposition, added to his heavy work in the dissecting-room, injured his health, and led to his early death from consumption at his father's house in Birmingham, on 13 Jan. 1824, having not quite completed his twenty-seventh year. He was a good anatomist, clear, concise, and logical in his teaching, and was much liked by his pupils. He had scarcely entered on surgical practice, and published nothing.

[Lancet, January 1824, p. 423 (newed.), 18Feb. 1865; Gent. Mag. 1824, i. 183; J. F. Clarke's Autobiogr. Memoirs, p. 320; Felloe's Memorials of J. F. South, pp. 106-13.]

G. T. B.