Robert Grieve Scotland England China Germany Guyana

Biography of Robert Grieve

Robert Grieve as a young scholar
Robert Grieve as a young scholar

Robert Grieve graduated MD from the University of Glasgow in 1861, and LRCS Edinburgh. He was born in Lilliesleaf, in the Scottish Borders, on 4 of March 1839, the eldest son of James, a surgeon.

Between 1861 and 1862, Grieve served as an Assistant Surgeon in the Royal Navy, taking part in actions against Taiping Rebels near Shanghai.

In 1862, Grieve entered into private practice at Howden, Yorkshire. In 1870, Dr Grieve spent some time in Darmstadt, Germany where he provided surgical assistance at the Orangeries Hospital during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). For his outstanding services, he was awarded a German War Medal for non-combatants.

Between 1870 and 1875, Grieve worked as Medical Superintendent of the Metropolitan Asylum Hospital at Hampstead, London.

In 1875 he was appointed Medical Superintendent of the Public Lunatic Asylum in Berbice, British Guiana (modern day Guyana), where he stayed for nearly ten years. As a Superintendent, Grieve implemented a number of reforms and successfully introduced humanitarian treatment of the patients at the Asylum. His time in Berbice was well documented in The Asylum Journal, which Grieve authored, published and distributed between 1881 and 1885. In 1886, he was promoted to the post of Surgeon General and transferred to the capital of Guyana, Georgetown, where he devoted another decade to the amelioration of sanitary conditions in the colony.

After contracting syphilis while operating on an infected patient, Grieve was forced to retire and left Guyana on 19 April 1894. On his retirement he was appointed CMG (Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George) for his outstanding and valuable services.

Grieve returned to his native Scotland and resided in Lasswade, Midlothian for some time. He died on 15 November 1906 in Barton on Humber, England.


Robert Grieve
Born 4 March 1839.
Died 15 November 1906.
GU Degree: MD, 1861; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences,
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: medical officers; surgeons
English snippet: Medical graduate of the University of Glasgow in 1861, pioneering medical officer in Guyana
Record last updated: 26th Mar 2014

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, Roxburghshire, Lilliesleaf
Place of Birth

England England, Lincolnshire, Barton-upon-Humber
Place of Death

China China, No Region

Germany Germany, Darmstadt

Guyana Guyana, Berbice

University Connections

University Roles