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Everard Home (1756-1832)

Home full portrait
Sir Everard Home, 1810. Source: Wellcome Trust.

Born in Hull, Yorkshire, Everard Home (1756-1832) turned down a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1773 to become the surgical pupil of his brother-in-law, the famous surgeon John Hunter (1728-1793).  After time spent as a surgeon to the military and St George’s Hospital, London, in 1806 he became the chief curator of the Hunterian Museum.  John Hunter’s anatomical and pathological collection had been purchased for the nation for £15,000 and given to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1799.  Home published around one hundred academic papers and received many honours during his glittering career including the Royal Society’s Copley Medal in 1807 and a baronetcy in 1813. 

After his death, Home’s scientific reputation took a battering from which it has never fully recovered.  A select committee was set up to investigate his conduct in relation to John Hunter’s private papers.  Home had taken ownership of his old teacher’s manuscript notes in 1799 and is thought to have plagiarised much of their contents in his own publications.  Determining how much is Home’s original work is difficult as he destroyed most of Hunter’s papers in 1823 to cover his tracks.

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