Lives of the fellows

William Miller Ord

b.23 September 1834 d.14 May 1902

William Ord was born at Brixton Hill, the son of George Ord,F.R.C.S, and his wife Harriet, daughter of Sir James Clark, a London merchant. He received a grounding in the classics at King’s College School and then entered St. Thomas’s Hospital as a medical student. There he gained the Cheselden medal for surgery and the Treasurer’s medal. After qualifying in 1855 and holding house appointments at St. Thomas’s, he joined his father in general practice. A few years later, however, he established himself as a consultant. He returned to Guy’s in 1870 as lecturer on comparative anatomy and was elected assistant physician in 1871, becoming physician after another six years. While on the staff, he lectured on physiology and medicine; and, as dean of the Medical School for two periods (1865-66 and 1876-88), he was responsible for a marked revival in its prosperity.

Ord was associated with Gull in his classic work on myxoedema and, indeed, gave the condition its present name. It was the subject of his Bradshaw Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in 1898. A Censor of the College, he was secretary of its committee which prepared the second edition of the Nomenclature of Diseases issued in 1880. He also wrote a valuable paper on The Influence of Colloids on Crystalline Form (1879). He was president of the Medical Society of London in 1885. An eloquent and scholarly teacher who based his instruction on careful preparation, Ord was a man of many parts, well read in literature and military history and well versed in botany, geology and folklore. He married first, in 1859, Julia, daughter of Joseph Rainbow of Norwood, by whom he had two daughters and a son, and secondly, Jane, daughter of Sir James Arndell Youl, by whom he had two daughters. He died at Salisbury, two years after retiring.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1902; B.M.J., 1902; Parsons, iii, 227; D.N.B., 2nd Suppl., iii, 52]

(Volume IV, page 234)

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