Lives of the fellows

Joseph (Sir) Ewart

b.30 September 1831 d.10 January 1906
MD St And MRCS FRCP(1881) JP

Joseph Ewart, the son of Andrew and Catherine Armstrong Ewart, was born in Cumberland, where his family had owned an estate for many generations. He began his education at Carlisle High School and studied medicine at Anderson’s College, Glasgow, and Guy’s Hospital. After qualifying in 1853, he joined the Bengal Medical Service, then a part of the East India Company. At the time of the Mutiny, he was with the Mehwar Bheel Corps at Kherwarra. Having published a Digest of Vital Statistics of the European and Native Armies in India in 1859, he was given charge of the statistical office at Calcutta. He then became successively professor of physiology, professor of medicine and principal of the Calcutta Medical College, senior physician to the College Hospital and senior surgeon to the European General Hospital. As a municipal commissioner and magistrate of Calcutta, he did much for the city’s sanitation and water supply.

A breakdown in his health compelled Ewart to return to England in 1876, and he retired three years later, with the rank of deputy surgeon-general. Settling in Brighton, he devoted his energies to municipal affairs. He sat on the town council from 1884 to 1905 and held office as mayor from 1891 to 1894. He was a member of the Brighton and Preston School Board and of several hospital governing bodies as well as consulting physician to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children. For many years he was president of the Brighton Liberal and Radical Association, and in 1895 stood for Parliament as Liberal candidate. He was knighted in the same year. He was a man of strong will. As a boy he had insisted on attending a Presbyterian place of worship in opposition to his headmaster’s wishes, and in India he persuaded the autocratic John Lawrence to undergo a necessary operation. He himself tended to act in a dictatorial manner in his later years. Ewart married in 1856 Madeline, daughter of Major T. St. George Lister. He died at Brighton.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1906; B.M.J., 1906; Roll of I.M.S., 143]

(Volume IV, page 279)

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