Dr James Henderson Nicoll


Dr James Henderson Nicoll (30 September 1863–15 August 1921) was born in Glasgow, the son of Free Church minister James Nicoll and Margaret Mitchell Nicoll. He was educated at Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University, graduating MB CM in 1886. He worked in Glasgow before continuing surgical training in London and then travelling in Europe. He returned to Glasgow in 1891 where he held a number of surgical posts at the Western Infirmary, the Central Dispensary (Western Infirmary out-patients' department) and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children over the next 30 years.

He was well-known for his work in the field of urology, and in general and paediatric surgery. He pioneered day surgery in Glasgow, investing his own money in equipment, and supported and sponsored the domiciliary nursing service, established in 1888, which undertook the post-operative care of his day patients. He also established accommodation for far-travelled patients and their families.

In 1903 Nicoll became a Fellow of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and shortly before his death in 1921 was made director of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. He was also served as secretary of the West of Scotland Board of the British Medical Association and as a BMA Vice President of the Section of Surgery. He published over 100 papers during his career, many of which appeared in the British Medical Journal.

Nicoll was an art collector. He is known to have owned works by D. Y. Cameron, Whistler and E. A. Hornel and was a member of Glasgow Art Club. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the County and the City of Glasgow in 1911, and an assessor of the Glasgow University Court in 1915. In 1920 he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honour by the French ambassador for his actions during the war in 1917–18. 1


1: Who's Who in Glasgow 1909, p. 160; Obituary, British Medical Journal, 27 August 1921; D .G. Young and R. Carachi, 'James H. Nicoll, MB CM Glasg, FRFPS Glasg., Legion of Honour France, Father of Day Surgery', Scottish Medical Journal, 51, no. 1, 2006, pp. 48–50.