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Cantlie, James, 1851-1926


James Cantlie (1851 - 1926) was born in Banffshire, Scotland. After his graduation from the University of Aberdeen in 1871, he joined Charing Cross Hospital, London, St John Ambulance Association, and the London Scottish Volunteers, etc. In 1883, Cantlie volunteered for service in Egypt treating victims of a cholera epidemic.

Cantlie came to Hong Kong with his wife in 1887, and became a co-founder of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. His great experience in teaching in London provided a solid foundation for the new medical school, and one of the first to graduate from the college was Sun Yat-sen, who in 1911 became the first president of the Chinese republic. In 1896, Cantlie returned to London to take the chair of applied anatomy at the Charing Cross Hospital. Soon afterwards he was informed that Sun Yat-sen had been kidnapped and imprisoned at the Chinese legation in London and that he was to be sent to China to face trial for sedition. Cantlie immediately organized a watch on the legation, and mounted a successful campaign for the release of Sun Yat-sen.

Cantile had gained a reputation as an expert in tropical diseases, and he was famed particularly for his treatment of tropical liver abscess. He co-founded the Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1898, and became the first surgeon and lecturer in tropical surgery at the London School of Tropical Medicine, which opened in 1899. During the First World War he and his wife became commandants in the British Red Cross Society, and he later also founded the College of Ambulance. For these services Cantlie was made a knight of the British empire in 1918 and, in the following year, he received an honorary LLD degree from the University of Aberdeen. Cantlie died at Dorset Square, London, on 28 May 1926.

Cantlie, Neil. Sir James Cantlie : a romance in medicine. London : Murray, 1939.
Harrison, Mark. "Cantlie, Sir James (1851–1926), physician and medical administrator." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004; Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

James Cantlie papers

Identifier: HK CVU 0095/PER/JCantlie
Scope and Contents Consists of three letters written by James Cantlie and received by Sir Heary Trueman Wood.