Thirteen things you may not know about pioneering surgeon Sir James Paget as he is honoured in Great Yarmouth

Blue plaque unveiled on South Quay in Great Yarmouth to Sir James Paget at the same time as the town celebrates 200 years since he was born.
The mayor John Burroughs with Hugh Sturzaker.

Picture: James Bass Blue plaque unveiled on South Quay in Great Yarmouth to Sir James Paget at the same time as the town celebrates 200 years since he was born. The mayor John Burroughs with Hugh Sturzaker. Picture: James Bass

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
2:49 PM

A blue plaque marking the birthplace of Sir James Paget, physician to Queen Victoria, was unveiled at 100 South Quay in Great Yarmouth yesterday. Here are 13 things you may not know about him.

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Sir James Paget, 1st Baronet, British surgeon and pathologist, born in Great Yarmouth on January 11, 1814Sir James Paget, 1st Baronet, British surgeon and pathologist, born in Great Yarmouth on January 11, 1814

1) Paget was born at 57 South Quay in a fine three-storey house built by his father, a successful shipping merchant and brewer.

2) He was one of 18 children, only eight of whom survived to adulthood.

3) Educated in Yarmouth, young Paget planned to join the Navy but at 16 became an apprentice to a local surgeon.

4) He trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London where he went on to become one of the country’s most influential surgeons, often referred to as the father of British pathology.

5) He was a respected author and teacher as well as physician to Queen Victoria for 41 years.

6) The Paget family home was demolished after it was damaged during the second world war and later replaced by flats where the plaque will be fixed.

7) Today, the celebrated surgeon is remembered as a founding fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and later its president.

8) His name was not only given to the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston, but is eponymously associated with several conditions.

9) He was one of the first surgeons to develop the idea of clinical surgery, he introduced early descriptions of breast cancer, as well as an early indication of breast cancer known as Paget’s disease.

10) He was the author of the influential works lectures on Tumours (1851) and Lectures on Surgical Pathology (1853).

11) Later in life he continued to visit Yarmouth and in 1888 opened a new hospital in the town.

12) He died in London in 1899, two weeks before his 86th birthday. His funeral was held at Westminster Abbey presided by one of his sons, then Bishop of Oxford.

13) Events to celebrate his life and links to Norfolk will include a Paget Conference at the Burrage Centre at the JPH on January 11 where a group of national speakers will give talks on his achievements and legacies; a dinner at Great Yarmouth Town Hall will include Sir Julian Paget, the 4th baronet; a civic service at Yarmouth Minster led by the Bishop of Norwich on January 12; and free exhibitions at both the Minster and the Burrage Centre.

For details on the conference or dinner, email hugh@sturzaker.plus.com or contact Mr Struzaker, c/o Department of Surgery, James Paget University Hospital, Lowestoft Road, Gorleston NR31 6LA

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