LHSA enquiry into surgeon Alexander Miles (1865-1953)

This week I have been assisting with a fascinating enquiry about the well known Edinburgh surgeon Alexander Miles (1865-1953).

I began by looking in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Registers of Doctors (LHSA reference: LHB1/119/1-2), and was able to find entries for him first as a resident surgeon in 1888-1889 and then as a supervisor to the residents from 1910 onwards. The resident physicians and surgeons were newly qualified doctors who were receiving further training at the Royal Infirmary.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Residents, Summer 1889. Alexander Miles is seated on the floor in the centre of the picture

I then looked in the published UK Medical Directories (available to consult in the Centre for Research Collections Research Support Collection).  I was able to trace each of the addresses Miles worked at from when he qualified in 1888. This source also stated that he was elected as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1890.

I also looked at LHSA’s reference library and found a detailed biography of Miles in The Edinburgh School of Surgery After Lister by James A Ross, 1978, Churchill Livingstone. (LHSA Reference: Ref 8/47). Miles went on to become a lecturer in anatomy in Edinburgh University, surgeon to Leith Hospital, lecturer in surgery at the School of Medicine of the Royal Colleges.  He wrote a Manual of Surgery with Alexis Thomson in 1904. He was also joint editor of Edinburgh Medical Journal 1911-1935 and wrote The Edinburgh School of Surgery before Lister in 1918. He was secretary, treasurer, then president of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was in his day considered “the best all-round surgeon in the Royal Infirmary”. 

This enquiry response shows the variety of sources which LHSA has to hand to help answer the many enquiries we receive each week.