Famous British Surgeons

Find out more about the greatest British Surgeons, including James Herriot, Joseph Lister, Magdi Yacoub, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sid Watkins.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Surgeons

 1 John Snow

John Snow
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 15, 1813
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: York, United Kingdom
Died: June 16, 1858

Best known as the father of modern epidemiology, British doctor John Snow revolutionized medical science with his study of London’s Broad Street cholera outbreak of 1854. His research contributed to the development of London’s sewage and water systems and led to the reduction in cholera cases.

 2 Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister
4
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: April 5, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Upton House, West Ham, England
Died: February 10, 1912

British surgeon Joseph Lister was a pioneer of antiseptic medicine usage and made a huge contribution to the development of preventive medicine for bacterial infection. His achievements have been honored by many, such as the makers of Listerine antiseptic and mouthwash, who named their product after him.

 3 James Barry

James Barry
4
Famous As: military physician, Surgeon
Birthdate: November 9, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: July 25, 1865

Military surgeon James Miranda Steuart Barry is most noted for making medical reforms and performing one of the first known successful Caesarean sections in Africa. Although during adulthood Barry lived as a man, at birth Barry was named Margaret Ann Bulkley and was known as a girl-child. Barry's birth sex became public after a post-mortem examination.     

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 4 Magdi Yacoub

Magdi Yacoub
3
Famous As: Heart Surgeon
Birthdate: November 16, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Belbin, Ashraqya, Egypt

Magdi Yacoub is a retired professor who worked at Imperial College London. He is best known for his work in repairing heart valves, a procedure which came to be known as the Ross-Yacoub procedure. In 1983, he performed the United Kingdom's first combined lung and heart transplant. Also a humanitarian, Yacoub co-founded the Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Foundation in 2008.

 5 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
5
Famous As: Mayor of Aldeburgh
Birthdate: June 9, 1836
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Whitechapel
Died: December 17, 1917

The first female doctor and surgeon of Britain, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was initially denied admission to medical schools because of her gender and had thus started studying privately. Soon after joining the Marylebone Dispensary as an attendant, she contributed to the formation of the New Hospital for Women.

 6 Sid Watkins

Sid Watkins
5
Famous As: Neurologist, Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Physician
Birthdate: September 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Liverpool
Died: September 12, 2012

Eric Sidney Watkins or Professor Sid, as he was known within the Formula One fraternity, wanted to become a doctor since his childhood. An experienced neurosurgeon and academician, he later became Formula One's trackside consultant and safety adviser. He concentrated on creating sophisticated medical back-up necessary for providing timely treatment, thus saving many lives through prompt actions.

 7 James Parkinson

James Parkinson
3
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: April 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shoreditch
Died: December 21, 1824

The man who lent his name to Parkinson’s disease, which he described as paralysis agitans in Essay on the Shaking Palsy, James Parkinson was a leading English surgeon. An avid paleontologist and geologist too, he often collected specimens and fossils. He and his son also offered the first description of appendicitis.

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 8 Tobias Smollett

Tobias Smollett
5
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 19, 1721
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dalquhurn (now part of Renton, Scotland Renton), Scotland
Died: September 17, 1771

Best known for his picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett was born into a family of lawyers and soldiers and initially attended medical training. Some believe he quit university without a degree, while it is also said he had served as a navy surgeon.

 9 George Bass

George Bass
2
Famous As: Former Explorer, Surgeon known as one of the first people to explore the interior of Australia
Birthdate: January 30, 1771
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: 1803 AD

British naval surgeon George Bass is best remembered for his exploratory voyage to Australia, aboard the Reliance. He explored areas such as the Sydney coastline, Tasmania, and New South Wales. However, he was declared lost at sea after disappearing on a commercial voyage to South America.

 10 Charles Bell

Charles Bell
2
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 12, 1774
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 28, 1842

Charles Bell was a Scottish surgeon, physiologist, anatomist, and neurologist. He was also an artist and philosophical theologian. He discovered the difference between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord. He is also known for describing Bell's palsy. He played a key role in the creation of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. 

 11 Dean Mahomed

Dean Mahomed
0
Famous As: Traveller, surgeon, entrepreneur, and one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World
Birthdate: April 30, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Patna, Bihar, India
Died: February 24, 1851

 12 Gideon Mantell

Gideon Mantell
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Famous As: Obstetrician
Birthdate: February 3, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lewes, England
Died: November 10, 1852

 13 Percivall Pott

Percivall Pott
2
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: January 6, 1714
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 22, 1788

 14 James Paget

James Paget
2
Famous As: Founder of scientific medical pathology.
Birthdate: January 11, 1814
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Great Yarmouth, England
Died: December 30, 1899

 15 Patrick Steptoe

Patrick Steptoe
2
Famous As: Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Birthdate: June 9, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: March 21, 1988

 16 R. Austin Freeman

R. Austin Freeman
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 11, 1862
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
Died: September 28, 1943

 17 Jonathan Hutchinson

Jonathan Hutchinson
2
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: July 23, 1828
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Selby, Yorkshire, England
Died: June 13, 1913

 18 Victor Horsley

Victor Horsley
2
Famous As: British surgeon
Birthdate: April 14, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 16, 1916

British neurosurgeon Victor Horsley created history when he conducted the first spinal tumor operation. His research also included studies on thyroid and rabies. He was also knighted for his achievements but died of a heat stroke while serving the British army’s medical team during World War I.

 19 Astley Cooper

Astley Cooper
2
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: August 23, 1768
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooke, England
Died: February 12, 1841

 20 Goldsworthy Gurney

Goldsworthy Gurney
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: February 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Treator, Padstow, England
Died: February 28, 1875

 21 Ann Redgrave

Ann Redgrave
1
Famous As: Physician, Rower
Birthdate: March 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sussex, England

 22 John Richardson

John Richardson
1
Famous As: Surgeon and Explorer
Birthdate: November 5, 1787
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dumfries, Scotland
Died: June 5, 1865

Apart from being a naval surgeon, John Richardson also made a named for himself as an explorer of the Canadian Arctic coast. He was also a talented author of natural history. His accurate surveys eventually got him knighted. Various species of reptiles and mammals have been named in his honor.

 23 William Hewson

William Hewson
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 14, 1739
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hexham, England
Died: May 1, 1774

Widely regarded as the father of hematology, Copley Medal-winning British physiologist William Hewson studied blood coagulation, the lymphatic system, and red blood cells, and isolated fibrin, which he named coagulable lymph. He was made a Royal Society member and was also named to the American Philosophical Society.

 24 Wilfred Trotter

Wilfred Trotter
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 3, 1872
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coleford, Gloucestershire, England
Died: November 25, 1939

 25 Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern

Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 6, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bexley, England
Died: May 8, 1971

 26 Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet
1
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: June 9, 1783
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: West Winterslow, England
Died: October 21, 1862

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet, was an English surgeon and physiologist best remembered for his pioneering research into joint and bone disease. He was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1810 where he published many papers describing investigations in physiology. From 1858 to 1861, Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie served as the 29th President of the Royal Society.

 27 Alexander Monro

Alexander Monro
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: September 19, 1697
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 10, 1767

The son of surgeon John Munro, Alexander Monro followed in his father’s footsteps and became a leading surgeon and anatomist of his day. He, his son, and then his grandson held the Edinburgh University Chair of Anatomy for a collective 126 years. He was also named a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 28 Sir William Bowman, 1st Baronet

Sir William Bowman, 1st Baronet
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: July 20, 1816
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nantwich, England
Died: March 29, 1892

 29 William Cheselden

William Cheselden
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: October 19, 1688
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Somerby, England
Died: April 10, 1752

 30 Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan

Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: September 2, 1865
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Malta
Died: September 7, 1936

 31 William Henry Flower

William Henry Flower
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 30, 1831
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Died: July 1, 1899

 32 John Simon

John Simon
1
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: October 10, 1816
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 23, 1904

 33 Peter Chamberlen the elder

Peter Chamberlen the elder
0
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: 1560 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: 1631 AD

 34 Hasnat Khan

Hasnat Khan
0
Famous As: Heart & Lung Surgeon widely known for his Romantic Relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales from 1995 to 1997
Birthdate: April 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jhelum, Punjab, Pakistan

Better known as former lover of Princess Diana, British-Pakistani cardiac surgeon Hasnat Khan was once described by the late princess as “Mr Wonderful.” He had first met Diana at the Royal Brompton Hospital, where the princess had gone to visit a friend. Hasnat is a distant relative of Imran Khan.