St George's, University of London has a rich and varied history. Established in 1733 in Lanesborough House at Hyde Park Corner, our institution has remained at the forefront of medical care throughout its 283 year history, including through the years encompassing St George’s use as an Emergency Hospital Service during the Second World War and a move to Tooting in 1980.
Our pioneering alumni
Some of our alumni have led equally diverse lives. They have come from all walks of life and include Edward Wilson, Edward Jenner and Harry Hill.
Edward Wilson was one of the first Antarctic explorers led by Captain Scott. He joined the group immediately after graduating from St George's as a junior surgeon and zoologist in 1901. Unfortunately his tale was to end in tragedy when in 1910, alongside Captain Scott, Wilson and his fellow explorers were to perish while attempting a return to the South Pole.
Edward Jenner is perhaps St George's most famous son. A student here between 1770 and 1774, he would go on to create the smallpox vaccine in 1796. Smallpox was a ravenous disease which often left sufferers dead, or at the very least badly scarred, with children particularly susceptible. Jenner's work helped save and improve the lives of generations of people and ultimately paved the way for smallpox’s eradication in 1980.
Finally, Harry Hill is most famous for his TV burps.
Our graduates have changed the face of medicine
Other notable alumni include the 'father of modern surgery' John Hunter, who studied with us in 1733. Henry Gray, writer of the original esteemed medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy - now in its 41st edition - studied here in 1827.
Patrick Steptoe, a student here in 1930, pioneered in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, alongside a colleague. Steptoe was then elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in March 1987 before being awarded the Gold Medal of the British Medical Association.
Follow in the footsteps of people who changed the world
More recently, Frank Chinegwundoh graduated from our Medicine course in 1984 and was awarded an MBE for his service to the NHS for his work as a consultant urological surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust and Harley Street, London.
Dr Lucy Mathen, a former BBC Newsround reporter, was inspired to join the medical profession after interviewing a doctor in Afghanistan. Since graduating from George’s in 1994, she has specialised in ophthalmology and aims to eradicate cataract blindness in poverty-stricken rural India via her charity Second Sight.
Dr Edward Coats, one of St George’s medical class of 2005, accompanied TV presenter Ben Fogle and double Olympic gold medal rower James Cracknell to the South Pole as part of a BBC documentary in 2009. He has since undertaken a series of extreme classroom projects in the High Arctic and Africa, which aim to show how children with behavioural difficulties can be taught with the correct approach despite previously being labelled 'unteachable'.
To study at St George's is to walk in the footsteps of these and many more pioneering alumni. You can still see the hide of Blossom the Cow, Edward Jenner's test subject for his smallpox vaccine, on display in our Library.