Skip to main content

Sir James Paget Was a Pioneer of His Time

I enjoy history, in particular local history, and history about my home county of Norfolk.


Work itself is a pleasure.

— Sir James Paget

About James Paget

I feel a bit of a connection to Sir James Paget as I live very close to where he was born. As you can see from the picture below, there is a blue plaque erected where the house he was born in once stood. Now, those houses are long but gone and a block of flats stand in its place. Well known for being the surgeon to Queen Victoria, he has many other achievements under his belt! The hospital that covers Great Yarmouth, Norfolk and Waveney is also called The James Paget University Hospital. It has approximately 520 beds and covers 250,000 people in the area, along with the many visitors that visit the region every year.

Who is James Paget?

One of 12 children, James Paget was born on South Quay in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk on 11 January 1814 and died in London on 30 December 1899. He went to school in Great Yarmouth and was due to join the Navy. But he didn't go down this route. Due to his father going bankrupt, he was unable to follow in his brother's footsteps of going to Charterhouse School, which was then in London. At 16 years of age, he went on to be an apprentice to a General Practitioner. Then in 1834 he became as student at St Bartholemew's Hospital in London where he passed all his exams with flying colours. Incidentally, he worked at St Barts (which is what it's commonly called) between 1834 - 1871.

His Works

Not only was he the personal surgeon to Queen Victoria for 41 years, but throughout his career he adds his name to many great achievements, and is known as the father of pathology. He is well-known for writing about Paget's Disease, which is a deformity of the bones. And also Paget's Disease of the Nipple, which is a type of breast cancer. Not only was he highly acclaimed for his many writings and speeches, but in 1875 he also became President of the Royal College of Surgeons. His long and distinguished career leaves him with a high regard in the medical field due to his work as a surgeon and medical research.

Scroll to Continue

It was also in 1875 that he received the honour of Baronetcy, which is a title given to them by the British Crown. It was Sir James Paget that also discovered the parasitic worm that causes trichinosis. Incidentally, James and his brother Charles also enjoyed botany, and for 7 years enjoyed the flora and fauna in the Great Yarmouth area.


His Legacy

As I said at the beginning, the hospital in the Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft area is named after him, and there's also a ward named after him in St Bartholemew's Hospital. Alongside the diseases which is accredited to his name, he was also the first surgeon who used waterbeds to help alleviate bedsores. He was also President of the Royal College of Surgeons. He has also contributed, to name but a few, Axillary Vein Thrombosis, Paget's Description of painful subcutaneous tumors and Paget's Description of neurofibromatosis.

I think James Paget will always be remembered as the Father of Pathology and his wide range of work in the medical field. And, of course, for 41 years he was Queen Victoria's private surgeon.


James Paget University Hospital


  • James Paget University Hospital
    Sir James Paget, 1814 – 1899, was an outstanding medical man of the 19th century, known best for his reports and studies of the progressive bone disorder known as Paget’s Disease of the bone, or Osteitis Deformans.
  • NCBI

© 2021 Louise Powles


FlourishAnyway from USA on July 10, 2021:

Interesting! Thanks for profiling him.

Related Articles