S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Hutton, Dr George Allan (veterinary science, medical sciences)

Born: 7 September 1830, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.
Died: 21 April 1919, Leamington, Warwickshire, United Kingdom.

George Allan Hutton qualified as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) in 1852 and joined the army as assistant surgeon in June 1854. He came to South Africa in October 1854. According to Curson (1935) he was also a qualified veterinarian, having graduated in London in 1853. In 1854 lungsicknes (bovine pleuropneumonia) was introduced to the Eastern Cape from Holland, whereupon the governor, Sir George Grey, asked Hutton to investigate the problem. His report has not been traced. He was furthermore one of a number of persons who reacted to an enquiry into horse sickness, recognising it as a distinct disease. His comments, with those of others, were published by Thomas B.C. Bayley* in Notes on the Horse-sickness of the Cape of Good Hope in 1854-55 (Cape Town, 1856).

In May 1855 Hutton arrived in Grahamstown as assistant surgeon to the 12th Regiment. Early in July that year he, Dr W.G. Atherstone*, Dr W. Edmunds*, Dr R.M. Armstrong* and Dr W. McDonald met to consider the formation of a medical society in Grahamstown. In his Reminiscences... Hutton takes credit for organising the meeting. They founded the Grahamstown Medico-Chirurgical Society, the objects of which were to discuss medical matters at regular meetings and to collect specimens for a medical museum. However, towards the end of the year the society's name was changed to the Literary, Scientific and Medical Society, and the collection of specimens became the Albany Museum (Natural History). Hutton served on the society's management committee until he left Grahamstown three years later. He read papers before its members on wounds (October 1855), the structure of the serpent (January 1856) and the microscope (May 1856), and with Dr Edmunds planned a bi-weekly class on introductory physiology. His other activities included serving on the first executive committee of the Eastern Province Agricultural Association when it was founded in November 1855.

Hutton left Grahamstown for England in July 1858. He subsequently served in Canada with the Trent Expedition and in the West Indies, but saw no war service. He was promoted to surgeon in 1866 and retired from the military in September 1874. After his retirement he became honorary organising commissioner of the St John's Ambulance Association, serving in this capacity for about 25 years. He left a widow, three sons and three daughters.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope almanac and annual register, 1856, 1857, 1858.

Curson, H.H. Matters of veterinary interest, 1795-1881. Journal of the South African Veterinary Medical Association, 1935, Vol. 6, pp. 78-107, 196-218, 274-296.

Grahamstown Journal, 17 November 1855, p. 2: Agricultural Association; 1 December 1855, p. 2: Grahamstown Medico-Chirurgical Society; 26 January 1856, p. 3, 9 February 1856, pp. 2-3, and 3 June 1856, p. 3: Literary, Scientific and Medical Society; 1 July 1856, p. 3: "Our institutes".

Hutton, G.A. Reminiscences in the life of Surgeon-Major George A. Hutton. London: H.K. Lewis, 1907.

Kaapsche Grensblad, 17 November 1855, p. 3: Landbouwkundig Genootschap.

Literary, Scientific and Medical Society (Grahamstown). Minute Book, 1855-1861.

Obituary: Surgeon-Major George Allan Hutton. British Medical Journal. 14 June 1919, p. 755. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2341350/ on 2017-12-20.

Compiled by: C. Plug