William Hunter was born on 23 May 1718 at Long Calderwood, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the seventh child of John Hunter (1673-1741) and Agnes Hunter née Paul (1691-1751).
William Hunter matriculated from the University of Glasgow, attended lectures given by Alexander Munro in Edinburgh, was apprenticed to William Cullen in Hamilton and studied anatomy and surgery in Paris. He set up a school of anatomy in Great Windmill Street, London, (the site is now occupied by the Lyric Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Avenue - the stage door is in Great Windmill Street), and helped his younger brother, John Hunter, establish his career.
Following the safe delivery of a royal baby he was appointed Physician Extraordinary to Queen Charlotte from 1764 to 1783. He opened his collection of anatomical preparations, books, coins and other artefacts to researchers. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1767 and of the Society of Antiquities in 1782.
He died, aged 64 years, on 30 March 1783 and was buried in the chancel of St James's Church, Piccadilly, London, bequeathing his collections to the University of Glasgow plus a large sum to build there a museum. The collections survive today as the nucleus of the University of Glasgow's Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery. His books, manuscripts and papers are held in the Hunterian Library, one of the university's special collections.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.