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Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The diaries of John Knyveton

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 30 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3019
  1. Geoffrey Hooper, Retired orthopaedic surgeon, North Queensferry, Fife KY11 1ER
  1. geoffrey.hooper3{at}

John Knyveton (1729-1809) was the son of an apothecary in Bromley. His mother died at his birth, and after his father died from an infected scratch sustained while lancing an abscess, he grew up in the village of Hestley in Kent as the adopted child of his surgeon-uncle, George Knyveton. He became an apprentice to his uncle and after further study in London joined the Royal Navy as a surgeon’s mate. Knyveton had an adventurous life at sea during the seven years’ war and then entered practice as a male midwife. After a long successful career in London and a happy marriage, he died at the age of 80. His diaries, discovered in a leather bound journal when a friend …

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