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Joseph Lister Statue - Portland Place, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 31.348 W 000° 08.760
30U E 697988 N 5711789
Quick Description: This memorial, to Joseph Lister, is a bust atop a plinth in the middle of the road close to the northern end of Portland Place. It is listed in the UK Attractions website.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/23/2013 8:05:43 AM
Waymark Code: WMHXCH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

Long Description:

The UK Attractions website tells us:

This fine old statue is one of several in and around Portland Place that commemorates some of the greatest minds ever to have been living in London. Joseph Lister is by no means an exception to this rule. Lister completely changed surgical practice with the introduction and promotion of sterile surgery. A surgeon himself he discovered the use of carbolic acid could help to protect open wounds during surgery, therefore increasing the chance of a successful surgery.

As the statue is located in the centre of a public road there is no fee involved but care should be taken, especially with children, when crossing the road to the central island and on the island, due to nearby traffic. The statue is also available 24/7 and is thought to be illuminated at night.

The bronze bust is perhaps three or four times life-size and has Lister looking south down Portland Place.

The Victorian Web website tells us

Lord (Joseph) Lister

Sir Thomas Brock, K.C.B., R.A. 1847-1922

Bronze, on a stone pedestal adorned with two bronze figures in front, two shields, and a scroll with a wreath on it

Unveiled 1924

Portland Place, London W1

Plans for a public monument to Lister were delayed by the 1914-18 war. In July 1921 a site was chosen in Portland Place, near Lister's former home in Park Crescent, and in January 1922 Brock was awarded the commission. Instead of the more usual standing statue, he designed a tall tapering plinth surmounted by a massive bust of Lister. A typical Brock touch was the inclusion of an allegorical female figure representing Humanity.The Lister memorial sadly proved to be his last work as he died on 22 August 1922. He had completed the bust and started work on Humanity. The memorial was finished by his assistant F. Arnold Wright in accordance with Brock's designs and unveiled by the President of the Royal College of Surgeons on 13 March 1924.

The Notable Biographies website tells us about Lister:

The English surgeon Joseph Lister discovered the antiseptic method, in which a germ-killing substance is applied to wounds during an operation. This represented the beginning of modern surgery.

Early years:
Joseph Lister was born in Upton, Essex, England, on April 5, 1827, the fourth of Joseph Jackson Lister and Isabella Harris Lister's seven children. His father was a wealthy wine merchant and student of Latin and mathematics who also developed an achromatic lens for the microscope. As a child Lister studied fish and small animals. He also did microscopic research, and his later acceptance of Louis Pasteur's (1822–1895) work may be related to his understanding of the process of fermentation in relation to the making of wine.

Lister knew at a young age that he wanted to be a surgeon, but his father made sure he completed his formal education first, just in case. As a teenager Lister attended schools at Hitchin and Tottenham, England, studying mathematics, natural science, and languages. In 1844 he entered University College in London, England, to study medicine. After graduating in 1852, he began a surgical career in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1860 he became professor of surgery at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland.

Making surgery safer:
With the introduction of anesthesia in the 1840s, operations had become more common. Except, many patients died from infection following surgery. Inflammation and suppuration occurred in almost all accidental wounds after surgery, and more so when patients were treated at the hospital rather than at home by a visiting surgeon. The reason was unknown, but it was believed to be something in the air. As a result wounds were heavily dressed or washed with water to keep the air out; operations were a last resort. The head, chest, and stomach were almost never opened, and injured limbs were usually amputated.

Lister's research centered on the microscopic changes in tissue that result in inflammation. When he read Pasteur's work on germs in 1864, Lister immediately applied Pasteur's thinking to the problem he was investigating. He concluded that inflammation was the result of germs entering and developing in the wound. Since Pasteur's solution of killing germs with heat could not be applied to the living body, Lister decided to try a chemical to destroy the germs.

That same year Lister read in the newspaper that the treatment of sewage with a chemical called carbolic acid had led to a reduction of diseases among the people of Carlisle, England, and among the cattle grazing on sewage-treated fields. In 1865 he developed a successful method of applying carbolic acid to wounds. The technique of spraying the air in the operating room with carbolic acid was used only briefly, as it was recognized that germs in the air were not the main problem. Lister perfected the details of the antiseptic method and continued his research. He developed the surgical use of a sterile thread for closing wounds and introduced gauze dressings. Antisepsis became a basic principle for the development of surgery. Amputations became less frequent, as did death from infections. Now new operations could be planned and executed safely.

Later years:
In 1869 Lister returned to Edinburgh, and in 1877 he was appointed professor of surgery at King's College in London, England. He won worldwide acclaim, honors, and honorary doctorates and was made a baron in 1897. After he retired from medicine in 1893 he became foreign secretary of the Royal Society, and he was its president from 1895 to 1900. He died at Walmer, Kent, England, on February 10, 1912. Although Lister's antiseptic method was soon replaced by the use of asepsis, his work represented the first successful application of Pasteur's theory to surgery and marked the beginning of a new era.

The "Official Tourism" URL link to the attraction: [Web Link]

The attraction’s own URL: [Web Link]

Hours of Operation:

Admission Prices:

Approximate amount of time needed to fully experience the attraction: Less than 15 minutes

Transportation options to the attraction: Personal Vehicle or Public Transportation

Visit Instructions:

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Metro2 visited Joseph Lister Statue - Portland Place, London, UK 10/27/2011 Metro2 visited it