Professor Benjamin Alcock BA MB MRCSI
Professor of Anatomy and Physiology Queen's College Cork 1849-1855
Benjamin Alcock the first Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Queen's College Cork, was a prominent anatomist. Alcock was born in Kilkenny in 1801 and was educated in Dublin studying Anatomy in Trinity College. He graduated with a BA in 1821 and 1825 obtained the diploma of LRCSI. In 1827 he was awarded the degree of MB at Dublin University and was elected MRCSI in the same year. In 1837 became Professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology in the newly opened School of the Apothecaries' Hall Cecilia Street Dublin.
Alcock was appointed Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in Queen's College Cork in 1849. Alcock held his Chair in Cork for only a few years, his professorship was eventful and turbulent and finally due to a number of disputes was forced to resign in 1855.
He subsequently emigrated to the USA1, arriving there in April 1859. He married another Irish emigrant and settled in Hammondsport, Steuben County, New York State. He seems to have had a comfortable life there and is cited as owning property1. There is no evidence that he practised medicine or taught anatomy in the USA. He died on January 30th 1866.
In the ‘Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology’ a work in six volumes published between 1836 and 1839 Alcock described the eponymous pudendal (Alcock’s) canal, an anatomical structure in the pelvis through which the internal pudendal artery, veins and nerve pass2.
Benjamin Alcock The first Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in Queen's College Cork. By Ronan O' Rahilly. Cork University Press (1948).
1 Michael Hanna and Julie Crowe. What happened to Benjamin Alcock? - An exploration of Alcock’s new life in America. Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 125 (2020) 50–64.
2 Kim Oelhafen, Brian Shayota, Mitchel Muhleman, Zachary Klaassen, R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas. Benjamin Alcock (1801– ?) and his canal. Clinical Anatomy (2012) 26(6):662-6. Epub 2012 Apr 9.