Founder of Edinburgh University's medical school
Alexander Monro was born in London. His father was an accomplished Edinburgh surgeon. He initially studied anatomy in London, then continued his studies at Paris and Leiden before returning to Edinburgh in 1719, where, in 1720, he was appointed Professor of Anatomy. His work 'The Anatomy of Human Bones' (1726) became internationally renowned.
He was convinced of the need to provide the city's poor with free medical treatment and thereby also create a medical school for the university. In 1729 small rented premises were used for this purpose, with Alexander Monro providing surgical treatment at his own expense. These premises were the forerunner of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which was finally established in 1736. His efforts had ensured Edinburgh a place as a centre of excellence for medical training. He continued to work for better medical treatment for all and published 'An Account of the Inoculation of Small Pox in Scotland' in 1764.
Testament of Dr Alexander Monro senior
(National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/120 pp 951-958)
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