Alexander Monro

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Alexander Monro
By: James Basire
After: Allan Ramsay
Style: Line engraving
Date: 1776
Dimensions: 19. 5 x 25 cm

Alexander Monro ‘Primus’ (1697-1767), surgeon and anatomist, was born in London. Monro attended the University of Edinburgh between 1710 and 1713. He was admitted to the Incorporation of Surgeons in 1719.

Monro played a central role in the creation of Edinburgh as a centre formedical teaching. In 1720 Monro was appointed as Professor of anatomy, unlike his predecessors his position was clearly defined as a university chair. Many historians view this appointment as the official beginning of the Edinburgh Medical School.

Monro was also responsible for the creation of the Edinburgh Infirmary teaching hospital in 1729. In 1736, George II granted it a Royal Charter and it becameknown as the Royal Infirmary. William Adam designed the new building, whichopened for patients in 1741. In 1731, he helped to found the predecessor of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Society for the Improvement of MedicalKnowledge.

Although Monro was a gifted medical professional and teacher, his successwas greatly assisted by his father and the patronage of George Drummond. Healso was known himself as a benefactor to many charitable causes.

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