The Expert At Miller’s Court – Dr. James Percy Alwyne Gabb

Posted: September 24, 2009 in Other Ripper Research
Having searched the 1881 Census extensively, I discovered that Dr. James P.A. Gabb was the expert surgeon who was summoned to Miller’s Court on the morning of November 9, 1888. It always bewildered me as to why a general practitioner or pediatrician would be summoned to Miller’s Court when the corpse of Mary Kelly was not gravid. A general practitioner was not needed in that room; however a surgeon of this particular magnitude was necessary. Dr. James Gabb moved to Guildford, Surrey in 1882, and HE was the expert summoned to 13 Miller’s Court. He, and six other surgeons helped to piece Mary Jane Kelly together, to ascertain whether any organs were missing from the scene.
Consulting Medical Officer, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford
Dr. J.P.A. Gabb, who died on September 18th, was the son of Dr. John Gabb of Bewdley, Worcestershire, and was educated privately at Clifton and later at University College, London, where he graduated, taking the M.B. Lond., with honours, in 1879 and the M.D., with honours, in 1882 – the year in which he went to Guildford. He had also obtained the M.R.C.S. Eng., in 1879, and was awarded the gold medal for surgery and the silver medal for medicine. Dr. Gabb held the following appointments: honorary consulting medical officer to the Royal Surrey County Hospital; honorary medical referee to the Royal National Hospital for Consumption at Ventnor. He was president of the Surrey Medical Benevolent Society, and a Fellow of the Medical Society of London. He had been resident medical officer of St. Marylebone General Dispensary, house-surgeon at Kidderminster Infirmary,  and house-surgeon and house-physician at University College Hospital. He was a member of the British Medical Association for fifty-two years.
H.B.B. writes: Dr. J.P.A. Gabb’s death is an irreparable loss to his many friends; none of us now left in practice can remember a time when he was not there to be consulted in case of need – for he practiced in Guildford for more than fifty years. He was a tower of strength to his junior colleagues – who consulted him freely – not only in purely medical matters, but in almost every concern in life that can affect medical men. His advice was always inspired by wisdom, often spiced with humour, and was given in such a friendly spirit that even when it was the reverse of that hoped for by aspiring youth it was comforting: hallmarked by reason. He was a shy man, very quiet and reserved, but his illuminating smile was celebrated. I have heard it said, rather enviously, that he owed his enormous practice to this smile, and I am open to believe that it contained healing properties, as an adjuvant to his vast experience and distinguished medical acumen and knowledge. His general practice was of the best kind, and included every class of society – and both rich and poor. All his patients were his friends, and they all loved him. There must be a very large number of people who will never regard any other doctor, however good, as "the doctor" in the same sense as they regarded Dr. Gabb. They could always rely upon him, and his mood was always the right mood. He was both generous and charitable. Dr. Gabb was a tall, handsome man, very strong, and in his prime, which lasted nearly to old age, he was untirable. He had little time for sport or recreation, but he loved his garden and his pigeons.
Source: The British Medical Journal, October 13, 1934, Page 702

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