William Morrant Baker
Biography of William Morrant Baker
William Morrant Baker was the son of the town's solicitor. He undertook an apprenticeship with the local surgeon, Mr. Payne, and in 1858 entered St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School, qualifying and receiving his doctorate in 1861. That year he became midwifery assistant, and a year later entered the dissecting room. In 1867 he was elected demonstrator of anatomy. He became editor of Kirkes' Handbook of Physiology.
Baker was Sir James Paget's assistant for some years, and became lecturer in general anatomy and physiology at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1869, a position he held until 1885. He was elected an assistant surgeon to the hospital in 1871 and a surgeon in 1882. He resigned his post as surgeon in 1892, and then was appointed Governor of the hospital. Baker was also surgeon, later consulting surgeon, to the Evelina hospital for sick children, and was examinator of general anatomy and physiology at the Royal College of Surgeons.
He wrote a number of articles on bone and joint problems. He became regarded as an expert in renal surgery, particularly nephrolitomy.
During the last years of his life Baker developed locomotor ataxia and he was forced to resign his appointment in 1892. He was particularly interested in his hospital and had a superb collection of old prints and engravings of its development that he had collected over the years. He was a well built, good looking, fond of boxing when a student, also a very keen cricketer who made a regular habit of watching the Gentlemen versus Players game at Lords. He was very attentive to his patients, and very kindly to students.
- Baker was the editor of:
- Handbook of Physiology by William Senhouse Kirkes (1823-1864). This book was first published by Kirkes and Sir James Paget (1814-1899) in 1848, later 3rd to 5th edition by Kirkes alone.
- Statistics of cancer.
Transactions of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of London, Vol. XIV. Baker wrote:
- Erythema serpens.
St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Reports, 1873, 9: 198-211.
- The formation of abnormal synovial cysts in connection with the joints. II.
Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Reports, London, 1885; 21: 177-190.
- Baker's cyst: formation of abnormal synovial cysts in connection with joints.
Medical Classics, 1941; 5: 805-820.