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Sir Henry Morris

Cancer surgeon & urologist

Sir Henry Morris was a British cancer surgeon and urologist.

His main expertise was in anatomy where his prime area of interest was in the joints and articulations of the human body.

Singlehandedly, he developed a Cancer Department at The MIddlesex Hospital, and was instrumental in the beginnings of Cancer Research UK.

He carried out the first open stone removal from a non-dilated kidney in the UK, and also successfully operated on a patient to remove part of the bladder for cancer.

His signature (right) was sourced in 1906. For a more detailed biography, go to his entry in Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online.


By Anton Mansch - [1], CC BY 4.0, Henry Morris was born on 7 January 1844 in Petworth, Sussex.

He was educated at Epsom College and University College London. Thereafter, he gained his medical degree at Guy's Hospital London where he worked as a House Surgeon and Resident Medical Officer.

His surgical career began in 1870 at The Middlesex Hospital.  At a very early stage in his career, Morris developed an interest in cancer surgery and the Cancer Department at The Middlesex Hospital was formed during his tenure. As a result of his interest in cancer, he founded a research institution specifically to investigate cancer treatment; this came about at a meeting in his house and that institution eventually became Cancer Research UK.

Morris's greatest claim to fame, however, came as a Lecturer in Anatomy at the Middlesex Hospital. He wrote several books on anatomy during this time and had a particular interest in joints and articulations.

In 1880 a domestic servant, aged 19, was diagnosed with a stone in an undilated kidney, the diagnosis being made from the signs of pain and hæmaturia only. Morris removed the stone on 22 October 1880, and the case was reported as the first planned operation of its kind in the UK.  The patient made a complete recovery. This enhanced his reputation, and gave him the opportunity to publish a number of books on urology. For a time, he was a leading authority on urology, but the arrival of X-rays and cystoscopy made his clinical expertise secondary to more accurate investigations.

In 1906, he was elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons and was created a Baronet in 1909.

He died in London on 14 June 1926.  His wife, a Russian ballerina, predeceased him; they had no children, so his baronetcy became extinct upon his death.

Source of the Autograph

This signature of Sir Henry Morris is on the certificate of Membership of the Royal College of Surgeon's of England (MRCS) awarded to Albert Clifford Morson. It is part of the Morson Papers held in the BAUS collection. Morson signed his certificate and so his autograph is also in our Autograph Cupboard.

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