Lives of the fellows

William Guyer (Sir) Hunter

b.29 December 1827 d.14 March 1902

Guyer Hunter was born in Calcutta, the eldest son of Thomas Hunter of Catterick, Yorkshire, and educated at King’s College School in London. He studied medicine at Charing Cross Hospital and in 1850, a year after qualifying, enlisted in the Bombay Medical Service as an assistant surgeon. He served in the second Burmese War of 1852-53, and received commendation for his achievements in the Bombay Presidency in 1854 and 1857 as well as for his work as civil surgeon in Upper Sind during the Mutiny. After home leave, he returned to Bombay to take up the duties of professor of medicine at Grant Medical College and of physician to the Jamsetji Jijibhoy Hospital. His part in the revival of the College’s prosperity was recognised by his promotion to be principal in 1876 and his installation as vice-chancellor of Bombay University in 1879.

On his retirement from India, with the rank of surgeon-general, he was appointed Honorary Surgeon to the Queen, and his old Hospital made him a consulting physician. He headed a commission of enquiry sent to investigate the severe epidemic of cholera in Egypt in 1883. His reports, although controversial in some of their inferences, were unchallengeable in their advocacy of efficient sanitation for Egypt, and he received the honour of K.C.M.G. for his services. He retained a keen interest in questions of public health. He represented England at the Sanitary Congress in Rome in 1885 and became vice-president of the Sanitary Institute. He represented Central Hackney in Parliament as a Conservative from 1885 to 1892 and was associated with the Vaccination Commission, the Shop Hours’ Bill and the Midwives’ Registration Bill. He was chairman of the Water Inquiry Committee of the City of London and a member of the London School Board for the Westminster Division. Hunter also took a prominent part in the formation of the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps and was its first honorary commandant. He married firstly, in 1856, a daughter of Christopher Packe, vicar of Ruislip, and secondly, in 1871, a daughter of Joseph Stainburn. He died at Upper Norwood.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1902; B.M.J., 1902; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1902, 29; D.N.B., 2nd Suppl, ii, 329]

(Volume IV, page 232)

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