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George Stoker

B. 20 July 1854 at Artane Lodge, Fairview, Dublin, Ireland

D. 23 March 1920 at Bath, England

Educated at Rathmines School and the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin

Honor of the Medjidie (4th Class). L.R.C.S.I. 1876; M.R.C.P.I. and M.R.C.S. England, 1882; J.P. for County Kerry; Hon. Assoc. of Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England. Vice-Pres. (formerly Pres.) British Laryngological Assoc.: Fellow of Med. Soc. of London; Member of Pathological and Clinical Socs.; Physician to London Throat Hospital; Hon. Medical Officer of Actors’ Benevolent Fund. Formerly Surgeon to Hospital for Diseases of the Throat (Golden Square)

Major George Stoker was Surgeon in the Imperial Ottoman Army, and Medical Officer to the Bulgarian Relief Fund 1877. During the Turko-Russian War 1876-8 he acted as

Chef de L’Ambulance du Croissant Rouge and as Stafford House Commr during the Zulu War of 1870-80 (medal). Initiated and organised Civil Hospital in S. Africa 1899-1900;

and served as Second Surgeon Irish Hospital (Despatches, medal with three clasps, C.M.G.)

“Carrying a Corpse”

In the chapter entitled “Carrying a Corpse,” Volume I, Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906), Bram wrote about working several nights with Henry Irving in preparation for the upcoming Lyceum production of the Romeo and Juliet, trying to determine the best way for Irving to carry the body of Count Paris into the stage’s tomb. Just as Thornley’s surgical expertise informed Bram’s depictions of blood transfusions and cranial surgeries in Dracula, so did George’s battlefield medical experience come in handy in the theatre:

 

            “Some ten days after, my brother George, who had been all through the Russo-Turkish war as a surgeon in the Turkish service, was in the theatre. He had been Chief of Ambulance of the Red Crescent and had been in the last convoy into Plevna and had brought to Philippopolis all the Turkish wounded from the battle at the Schipka Pass, and had had about as much experience in the handling of dead bodies as any man wants. Irving thought it might be well to draw on his expert knowledge, and after supper asked him what was the easiest way of carrying a dead body, emphasising the “easiest”; accordingly I, who was to enact the part of “body”, lay down again. George drew my legs apart and stooping very low with his back to me, lifted the legs in turn so that the inside of my knees rested on his shoulders. Then catching one of my ankles in each hand, he drew my body up till the portion of my anatomy where the back and legs unite was pressed against the back of his neck. He then straightened his arms and rose up, my body, face outward, trailing down his back and my arms hanging limp. It was just after the manner of a butcher carrying the carcase of a sheep. It was most certainly the easiest way to carry a body - there was no possible doubt about that; but its picturesque suitability for stage purpose was another matter. Irving laughed consumedly, and when next we discussed the matter he had come to the conclusion that the best way was to drag the body into the entrance of the monument. He would then appear in the next scene dragging the body down the stone stair to the crypt. To this end a body was prepared adjusted to the weight and size of Paris so that in every way vraisemblance was secured.”

Advertisement in the Medical Press and Circular

2 April 1884

AN IMPROVED INHALING APPARATUS

A new, economical, and effective form of vapour inhaler

has been designed by Dr. George Stoker of London.

The invention consists of a Flexible cover (A), fitted with Glass mouthpiece (B) and air Tube (C), to carry the air through the medicated fluid. The case with which it can be attached to various household vessels, such as a cup, jug, or jar, obviates the necessity of purchasing the reservoir used with most inhalers. Its portability and cheapness (being sold at the small price of 2s.), are, however its principal recommendations, and by these it will doubtless achieve a very extensive popularity. The manufacturer’s address is 36 Exeter Street, Strand, London and the instrument can be had of  chemists and druggists generally.

Ellen Terry drawn by Albert Sterner

Ellen Terry, famed Shakespearean actress, wrote in The Story of My Life (1908) of the time George Stoker saved her arm (and, doubtless, her career) from the threat of possible amputation due to blood poisoning. In thanks, Ellen Terry gave George Stoker a small, engraved silver bowl, which his family treasures still:

“In America "Twelfth Night" was liked far better than in London, but I never liked it. I thought our production dull, lumpy and heavy. Henry's Malvolio was fine and dignified, but not good for the play, and I never could help associating my Viola with physical pain. On the first night I had a bad thumb—I thought it was a whitlow—and had to carry my arm in a sling. It grew worse every night, and I felt so sick and faint from pain that I played most of my scenes sitting in a chair. One night Dr. Stoker, Bram Stoker's brother, came round between the scenes, and, after looking at my thumb, said:

 

‘Oh, that'll be all right. I'll cut it for you.’

 

He lanced it then and there, and I went on with my part for that night. George Stoker, who was just going off to Ireland, could not see the job through, but the next day I was in for the worst illness I ever had in my life. It was blood poisoning, and the doctors were in doubt for a little as to whether they would not have to amputate my arm. They said that if George Stoker had not lanced the thumb that minute, I should have lost my arm.”

ENGLISH HACKNEY HORSE SOCIETY

LIST OF MEMBERS
February, 1892

Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen (Patron).
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, K.G. (Patron and Past President).
H.R.H. Prince George of Wales, K.G.

    (Members list includes)                                                    (Date of Election)

Stoker, George MRCPS  Dunloe Castle Beaufort RSO Kerry  November 1891

Article in The Ludgate

George Stoker died March 23, 1920, age 64, in hospital at Streatham Hall (Reed Hall), Exeter, and was buried March 27 in Exeter Higher Cemetery.