George Boyce Douglas




This article forms part of our Rogues and Vagabonds section.


George Boyce Douglas was born on 20 Oct 1841 at Egham, the son of James Douglas (watchmaker), and Martha Ann Boyce.


The Bolton Evening News, September 2, 1873 reported: -

At 7 o'clock this morning, a serious explosion of gas took place at the Bradley Fold Colliery, belonging to Mr Thomas Fletcher, Little Lever, resulting in severe injuries to two colliers named Samuel Pilling, married, living in Lever-street, and Thomas Martin, married, High-street. Pilling was burned on the face and arms, and Martin (whose case is the more serious) on the chest, arms and back. The latter's sufferings are the more intense from the fact of him having allowed some of the sulphureous gas to get into his throat. The scene of the accident was free from gas half an hour previous to the explosion. Dr G.B. Douglas was in prompt attendance upon the sufferers.


Research reveals that George was not, in fact, a doctor. Neither the BMA and Royal College of Surgeons record in their registers.


However, on 3rd June 1868, a notice in the London Gazette reports his bankruptcy asbeing of Bolton 'Veterinary Surgeon' , but also referred to as Medical Practitioner, formerly Surgeon's Assistant of Bolton, and formerly of Workington. A Second bankruptcy was published in the same source 51 Church Street, Little Lever, Lancs and 23 Nelson Square, Bolton-le-Moors, Doctor of Medicine.


Another entry in The Times on 26.8.1874, reported a case involving a legal action involving an action against a doctor, who improperly set a cast on a girl's broken arm, which led to gangrene, and amputation of the arm. George gave evidence, specifically not being described as a doctor, but a bonesetter. It would appear that he was subsequently convicted under the Medical Act of impersonating or practising as a doctor.


He married Frances Louisa Dolby, daughter of Samuel Dolby and Sarah Ann Dix on 19 Jan 1867 in Bolton, England. They had 9 children. He died on 25 Jan 1905 at the Lunatic Asylum, Prestwich, England, from 1. Senile Melancholia 2.Chronic Heart Disease 3. Chronic Renal Disease. Frances died on 1 Jan 1908 in Bury, England.




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Last modified: Monday, 11 October 2021