Henry Augustus Hore


Below are extracts from Munro Smith’s History of the Royal Infirmary Bristol 1917

The new rule for separating the offices of House Surgeon and Apothecary (which had been combined in one resident for ten years) was confirmed on October 26th, 1843 ; and on November 23rd Richard Davis, who was the only candidate, was elected Apothecary at the Coopers' Hall, King Street. Davis held the post only seven months. He resigned on June 19th, 1844, and on July 4th Henry Augustus Hore was unanimously elected in his place. On the resignation of Charles Greig, in 1846, Hore was unanimously appointed House Surgeon in his place, and held the office until January, 1856, when he resigned.


 During his tenure of office as Apothecary, and then as House Surgeon — a period of twelve years— he took careful notes of the cases admitted, and tabulated them in some excellent reports, which were printed in the annual States. (See p. 321.) He was appointed Hon. Surgeon on September 3rd, 1857, resigned in April, 1868, and died on May 24th, 1871, aged forty-eight. (See p. 344.)


A small Sub-Committee was appointed in March, 1849, to consider the condition of the nurses, and the respective duties of the Matron and House Steward. The report shows that women were taken into the service of the Charity without any training — knowing nothing of their work — and at once put in charge of serious cases. There was an understanding amongst them that they " would not be put upon," and if the Matron found any fault they at once gave notice. The report states that • " in several cases within the last few years the deaths of Patients had been manifestly attributable to the want of reasonable good nursing, and in some others the lives of Patients had been preserved by removing them from one of the many wards where there are very bad nurses to one of the few where there are good ones." Henry Hore, who was then House Surgeon, made inquiries, and found that the wages given at most other hospitals were higher than at the Bristol Infirmary, in some places reaching £50 per annum for head nurses.


Mr. Hore also published an analysis of these Infirmary cases in the Transactions of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association. In volume xvii. of that journal he records the curious circumstance that in 1848 more than a hundred cases of poisoning by the seeds of a foreign plant, the Jatropha curcas, were treated at the Institution, fifty-six of which were bad enough to be taken as In-patients. The symptoms were burning heat in the mouth and throat, purging, vomiting, and great collapse. The seeds, which have a sweet taste, were picked up in the streets, chiefly by children. How they came to be scattered about in the streets is not clear, but they were probably imported together with some tapioca, which is made from a nearly-related plant.


Henry Augustus Hore (whose excellent work in tabulating Infirmary cases has been mentioned before) was elected Surgeon on September 3rd, 1857, on Henry Clark's resignation. During his long career at the Infirmary (he was connected with the Institution as Resident and Honorary Surgeon altogether twenty-four years) he did a great deal of useful work both in the Museum and wards. He resigned in April, 1868.


He had a marked impediment in his speech, which interfered with his usefulness as a teacher and lecturer. He was also short-sighted, but this did not prevent him from being a good operator. A story is told that on one occasion when amputating a leg by what is known as the " circular " method, which requires the operator to begin the sweeping cut with the long knife pointed towards his face, Mr. Hore inflicted such a severe wound on his own nose, that he had to be attended to by a colleague before he could proceed with the major operation! He died on May 24th, 1871, aged forty-eight.