Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | By: Rudi Butt

Dr. Philip Bernard Chenery Ayres, The Last Colonial Surgeon

Updated (partial) on January 1, 2013

Notable Doctors From the First 100 Years
A Biography of

Philip Bernard Chenery Ayres
The last Colonial Surgeon (1873-1897)

Philip Ayres
b.July 13, 1840 Oxfordshire – d. October 12, 1899 Kent; son of Philip Burnard Ayres (M.D., London; Chief Medical Officer of the Civil Hospital, Mauritius; lecturer in chemistry at Charing Cross Hospital); M.R.C.S.Eng; M.L.R.C.P.Edin; government medical officer posted in Mauritius and India; arrived in Hong Kong (November 1873) to take up the position of Colonial Surgeon and Inspector of Hospitals (and would become the longest serving Colonial Surgeon – twenty four years); the following establishment were under the purview of the Colonial Surgeon: Police, Troops, Government Civil Hospital, Tung Wah Hospital, Victoria Gaol, Lock Hospital, Health of the Colony, and Sanitation, the Lunatic Asylum was added in 1884 when it as established; annual salary GBP600, allowed to carry on private practice whilst holding the public office aiming to make up the difference of GBP200 ( Ayres had asked for GBP800 per year); oversight the opening of the Government Civil Hospital; instituted the nursing staff of trained nurses from the London Hospital (1889); played a pivotal role in fostering a higher standard in sanitation including institutionalized the Sanitary Board (1883); handled the epidemic of Plague (1894); Worshipful Master of the Hong Kong Masonic Order, Officer of the District Grand Lodge of China; health began to fail in 1895; home leave (1896, this is the first and only home leave Ayres had ever took since arriving in 1873); retired (1897); died two years later at the age of 59; wrote in his last report before retiring, "What all my reports could not do the epidemic has done.", referring to the drastic improvement in sanitation standard following the epidemic; after his retirement, the position of Colonial Surgeon was changed to Principal Civil Medical Officer.

Annual Salary of some government officials in 1875 (in GBP)

Chief Judge
2,500
Puisne Judge
1,700
Attorney General
1,000
Postmaster General
900
Registrar General
800
Captain Superintendent of Police
800
Superintendent of the Gaol
700
Colonial Surgeon
600

(It will be interesting to find out why the Postmaster General was so generously paid...)



 

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