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Door plate, England, 1860-1910

Dr John Ward Cousins (1834-1921), who owned this brass door plate, was a surgeon and ophthalmologist – eye specialist – working in Portsmouth, England from 1860 to 1920. Throughout the 1800s the physician’s job became more defined and their social standing improved. They became a unified professional class to rival the clergy and lawyers. The British Medical Association was founded in 1832 to “promote the medical and allied sciences and to maintain the honour and interests of the medical profession”. Cousins was an innovative practitioner who invented a number of ophthalmic instruments to aid his work. He became President of the British Medical Association in 1899.

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Glossary: door plate

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