Death of a Surgeon

Now I have had a chance to do a little more investigation, I have a few more details to fill in about Mr. Thomas Salter, the subject of last week’s post. He started his medical career as a pupil to the Poole doctor, Thomas Bell, before completing his training at St. Thomas’s Hospital. Returning to Poole he became a partner in Thomas Bell’s practice and married his daughter, Eliza. He continued to practise in Poole for the nearly 50 years ‘almost without a holiday’ as the Poole and Dorset Herald reported.

The Royal College of Surgeons

Mr. Salter was keen to keep up with the latest discoveries in his profession. He carried out dissections, prepared anatomical and pathological specimens  and left one of the largest medical libraries and the most important medical museum in the county of Dorset. He was also keen on geology, botany and chemistry and assembled a fine collection of fossils. In acknowlegment of his contributions to medical journals, the College of Surgeons made him an Honorary Fellow in 1844.

The Salters were a family of high achievers and Thomas’ four sons James, Hyde, Henry and John all qualified in the medical profession, the two middle sons going on to practice and lecture at Charing Cross Hospital and Guy’s Hospital. The death of John in 1854 overshadowed Thomas’ last days. ‘From that time until his death, Mr. Salter never recovered his wonted elasticity, physical or mental; and his grief remained unabated in depth and in intensity to the last.’

Thomas Salter died suddenly on 20th February 1856, aged 70, setting out after a hard day’s work to visit some sick poor in the area. Feeling ill, he took refuge in a friend’s house. ‘He never lost his composure and self-possession, but, in the full consciousness of what was occurring, he calmly expired.’


Sources: Poole and Dorset Herald  28th Feb 1856 p.8


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1 Response to Death of a Surgeon

  1. Pingback: Thomas Salter: Poole’s first doctor in print? – Poole's Health Record

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