Henry Gray - Wilton Street, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.927 W 000° 08.935
30U E 697888 N 5709148
Quick Description: This brown London City Council plaque, erected to indicate that Henry Gray "lived here", is attached to a building on the north west side of Wilton Street close to the junction with Chester News.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/16/2015 7:44:56 AM
Waymark Code: WMNH40
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bill&ben
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Famous People website tells us about the life and works of Henry Gray:

Henry Gray is still remembered for his pioneering work ‘Gray’s Anatomy’, the first one of its kind. The book serves as a standard reference to the students of medicine and all those interested in the study of human body, especially, the beginnings of modern anatomy and surgery. It was written in the 1850’s when its author Henry Gray was in his early 30’s. Gray led a very discreet life, and facts about his personal life are quite few. Most of his time was spent in intense study and analysis of the complex machinery of human body. For those who knew him since he was a student, he was an extremely assiduous and disciplined learner. Even as a student, Gray undertook dissections on his own. He would take his time conducting dissections that rendered him an in-depth knowledge of anatomy. With an intension to pass all his knowledge to the world, he authored a book that disclosed the depths of human anatomy to the world. Read through and learn more about him.


Henry Gray was born in Belgravia, London, in 1827. He spent his whole life in London, in his family home. Gray’s father was employed as a royal messenger. The association with the royal family allowed Gray’s father to get Gray enrolled into Saint George's Hospital, for professional training. However, Gray expressed great interest in the anatomy rather than medical practices. In 1848, he received a prestigious award from the Royal College of Surgeons for his essay “The Origin, Connexions and Distribution of nerves to the human eye and its appendages, illustrated by comparative dissections of the eye in other vertebrate animals”.
Career Work

Gray continued to be there in Saint George's Hospital even after his education. He was offered the post of a lecturer in anatomy and was allowed to carry on his research. Apart from anatomy, gray was interested in embryology as well. This resulted in "The Glands of Chicks", a scientific paper summited by Gray in 1852. The same year, at the young age of 25, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. A year after he was honored with the Astley Cooper prize, which was a sum of three hundred guineas, for a thesis named “On the structure and Use of Spleen”.
The Book “Gray’s Anatomy”

After dedicating almost a decade of thorough research and scrutiny, Gray’s book was published for the first time in 1858. The book was titled “Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical” and received immense recognition. For the second edition of the book, Gray had even greater plans. He teamed up with Henry Vandyke Carter, a notable anatomical artist, for illustrations in the book. The second edition went ahead to create history, and was an extraordinary accomplishment. It was one of the first books on modern anatomy and surgery. It took 18 months of rigorous study and experimentation from the part of both Gray and Carter to produce the book. They dissected unclaimed bodies from the mortuaries, under the Anatomy Act of 1832, to explore human anatomy. The first edition of “Gray’s Anatomy”, a shortened name given to the book, was dedicated to Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet, an English surgeon, known for his noteworthy research on bone and joint related ailments. The success of “Gray’s Anatomy” augmented his career prospects; the Saint George Hospital offered him the post of Assistant Surgeon, a coveted position.
Personal Life and Death

There isn’t much information on Gray’s personal life. That he lived in London throughout his life and was associated with Saint George’s until his death are only facts known about his personal life. He met with an untimely death at the age of 34, after being affected by smallpox. In fact, Gray picked up the disease from his nephew who was infected with smallpox. Gray spent hours treating him. Though his nephew survived the disease, unfortunately, Gray succumbed to it. He passed away on 13 June 1861. Since he died three years after the publication of his outstanding “Gray Anatomy”, the later editions of the book were authored by others.

Gray was prodigy in the field of anatomy and his book proved beneficial to the medical students, physicians and surgeons of his time and even years after that. Till today, “Gray’s Anatomy” is chosen as a standard reference guide by the students pursuing medical science.

Gray’s “Anatomy Descriptive and Surgical” was first published in 1858.

The second edition of the same was published in 1860.

Blue Plaque managing agency: London County Council

Individual Recognized: Henry Gray

Physical Address:
8 Wilton Street
London, United Kingdom

Web Address: [Web Link]

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