Bankart, Arthur Sydney Blundell (1879-1951)

  • Bankart, Arthur Sydney Blundell (1879-1951) MA, MCh, FRCS, Orthopaedic Surgeon
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Papers of A. S. Blundell Bankart, relating to his career in orthopaedic surgery 1906-1951.



Physical description

4 boxes


In sections as follows:

A. Personal and Biographical, 1732-1951

B. Student and Medical Education, 1899-1904

C. Clinical and Patient Material, 1911-1945

D. Practice Accounts, c.1920-1950

E. Writings and Publications, 1921-1950

Acquisition note


Biographical note

A. S. Blundell Bankart is known as one of the fathers of British orthopaedic surgery. He was the son of James Bankart, F.R.C.S., surgeon and ophthalmologist of Exeter (see PP/JBA). Educated at Rugby and Trinity College Cambridge, Bankart went on to undertake his clinical training at Guy's Hospital, London.

He qualified in 1906 and initially worked as a Surgical Registrar at Guy's Hospital. During this period Bankart learned much from the surgeon W. Arbuthnot Lane, who had pioneered the no-touch technique in bone surgery, and he was influenced by the experimental approach of physiologist Charles Sherrington.

Between 1910 and 1912 Bankart obtained four surgical posts in London: at the newly founded Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (where he held the post of surgeon from 1913-1947), the Queen's Hospital for Children in Bethnal Green, the Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis in Maida Vale (where he worked until 1934) and the Belgrave Hospital. At this time he was therefore practising three surgical specialities - orthopaedic, paediatric and neurological.

During the First World War Bankart, in addition to his surgical appointments, worked tirelessly at the Shepherd's Bush Military Orthopaedic Centre, with Sir Robert Jones. After the War ended Bankart joined the staff of the Middlesex Hospital as its first orthopaedic surgeon where he greatly developed the department from its small beginnings.

Particularly attracted to neurosurgery, Bankart continued to work in that field up to the Second World War, carrying out most of his operations at the Middlesex Hospital. However, his chief ardour and contribution was in the field of orthopaedic surgery.

Bankart specialised in spinal surgery and was one of the first in Britain to perform a lateral cordotomy for pain relief. He is most widely known for his operation for habitual or recurrent dislocation of the shoulder joint (recidivating shoulder luxation) and its pathology. The Bankart Fracture and the Bankart Repair are both named after him. Bankart also advanced the cause of manipulative surgery; investigating the work of bonesetters and manipulators, observing the British bone-setter Herbert Barker, rationalising the 'miracles' into facts and making manipulation a 'respectable' procedure. As a result of this work he published Manipulative Surgery in 1932.

Bankart encouraged the practice of manipulative surgery of the foot, pioneered operations for sciatica and fusion of a painful sacroiliac joint, and developed methods to excise the hip in cases of tuberculous arthritis. He was a skilled, hard working and energetic surgeon. Although shy, he took a direct approach and had great personal integrity, refusing to tolerate careless work or theories based on unsound science (see E/1/2).

During the Second World War he was appointed to the Mount Vernon Hospital. Officially retired in 1944 he continued to work, operating on the very day of his (unexpected) death, 8 Apr 1951. Bankart became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1909 and a Master of Surgery at Cambridge. He became President of the Royal Society of Medicine orthopaedic subsection in 1925 and was a founder member of the British Orthopaedic Association, elected Honorary Secretary from 1926-1931 and President 1932-1933. He was also a member of the Société international de Chirurgie orthopédique, an honorary member of the Société française orthopédique and member of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons. As well as publishing Manipulative Surgery in 1932 Bankart contributed many articles, letters and notes in the Lancet and articles in the British Journal of Surgery. Bankart lived in Kensington and had consulting rooms at 95 Harley Street (see E/4/2). He married Beryl Winifred Moss-Blundell in 1913. They had one daughter.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

Finding aids

Online Archives and Manuscripts catalogue.


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