Authorised form of nameNettleship; Edward (1845 - 1913); ophthalmic surgeon and eugenicist
Dates1845 - 1913
Place of birthKette ring, Northamptonshire, England
Date of birth03 March 1845
Place of deathLongdown Hollow, Hindhead, Surrey, England
Date of death30/10/1913
Dates and placesCremated at Woking on 3 November 1913.
His remains were interred at St Stephen's Church, Shottermill, on 4 November 1913.
Occupationophthalmic surgeon
Research fieldGenetics
Eye pathology
ActivityEducation: Kettering grammar school (until 1860); Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester (1861–3); Royal Veterinary College; King's College Hospital MRCVS (1867); licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (1867)
Returned to the Royal Agricultural College as a lecturer prior to deciding to focus on human medicine; obtained membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (1868), and its fellowship (1870); attracted the patronage of Jonathan Hutchinson as his assistant at the London Hospital and the Blackfriars Hospital for Skin Diseases; published the first description of the skin disorder urticaria pigmentosa (1869); appointed as librarian and curator of the Museum at Moorfields (1871-3), during which time he established himself as a meticulous scientific investigator, initially on eye pathology, and later on a variety of clinical topics; left Moorfields and took up the post of medical superintendent at the Ophthalmic School at Bow (1873–4) where he worked with pauper children and as a result was commissioned by a Local Government Board to report on conditions in the metropolitan poor law schools; took up staff appointments at the South London Ophthalmic Hospital (1873–8), St Thomas's Hospital (1878–95), Great Ormond Street Hospital (1880–81), and Moorfields (1882–98); conducted a successful private practice from 5 Wimpole Street, London (1875); operated on the former prime minister William Ewart Gladstone, to extract a cataract (May 1894); examined Queen Victoria for the same condition but advised against surgery (1896); retired from clinical practice (1902); began concentrating on application to his speciality of the developing science of genetics; suffered complications as a consequence of prostatic surgery (1911); developed cancer of the lower bowel and died despite receiving radiotherapy treatment (1913).
FRCS (1870)
President of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom (1895–7)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election02/05/1912
RelationshipsParents: Henry John Nettleship (1807–1870), solicitor, and Isabella Ann (1818–1898), daughter of the Revd James Hogg, vicar of Geddington, Northamptonshire.
Siblings: Seven siblings, including Henry Nettleship, John Trivett Nettleship, and Richard Lewis Nettleship.
Spouse: Elizabeth Endacott Whiteway (b. 1843/4) from Compton in Devon, daughter of Richard Whiteway, a farmer (2 January 1869).
Published worksRCN 56744
General contextRemembered for his work with hereditary eye disorders.
Contrivuted to the research of ocular albinism, retinitis pigmentosa, and hereditary night blindness.
In later life he actively supported the eugenics movement, whilst engaged on a study of albinism with Karl Pearson (FRS 1896).
Bulloch's Roll; DNB
Royal Society codeNA1422
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1912/11Nettleship, Edward: certificate of election to the Royal Society
CMB/10/23Report on the Glassworkers' Cataract Committee19 July 1911
NLB/24/233Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Edward Nettleship, [Fellow of the Royal Society]8 April 1902
NLB/38/156Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Hugh Kerr Anderson, Fellow of the Royal Society, and others20 June 1908
NLB/43/169Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to [Edward] Nettleship, [Fellow of the Royal Society]12 November 1910
NLB/43/133Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to [Edward] Nettleship, Nutcombe Hill, Hindhead, [Fellow of the Royal Society]9 November 1910
NLB/43/136Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr T Llewellyn9 November 1910
NLB/46/93Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Edward Nettleship, Fellow of the Royal Society8 June 1912
RR/19/68Referee's report by Edward Nettleship, on a paper 'The relation between capillary pressure and secretion. II.— The secretion of the aqueous and the intraocular pressure' by Leonard Erskine Hill and Martin Flack[June 1912]
NLB/46/112Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Edward Nettleship, Fellow of the Royal Society11 June 1912
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