John Quiller Couch

Side entrance to granite house
Patients' entrance to the surgery in Penzance that John Quiller Couch shared with his brother

John Quiller Couch was Q's uncle. He was the youngest son of Jonathan and Jane Couch of Polperro. John was intended for the Indian Civil Service under the patronage of Col Hamelin Trelawney, but, following the death of Col Hamelin, John followed the profession of his father and trained as a doctor at Guy’s Hospital in London. On the death of Richard Quiller-Couch in 1863, John succeeded to the practice in Chapel Street. He failed to make the impression of his older brother, but appears to have been a very competent physician. He never married and Q probably modelled the bachelor Dr. Hammer of Laregan, in the novella Ia, on him. Q spent time in Penzance and probably learned a lot about Polperro in former years from John. John Quiller-Couch attended the Mayoralty Banquet for Richard Pearce Couch in November 1898 at which Q was a guest speaker.

Some basic biographical facts are given below. For a more detailed study of the life of John Quiller Couch, see here.

1830, 12 November: Born at Polperro, the fifth son of Jonathan and Jane Couch.

1831, 2 June: Baptised at Polperro Wesleyan chapel.

1840s: Intended for the Indian Civil Service under the patronage of Col Hamelin Trelawney.

1851: Polperro as a student of medicine (Census).

   ?   : Trained at Guy’s Hospital, London.

1862: Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, L.M., L.S.A.

1863: On the death of Dr. Richard Quiller Couch, John succeeds him in the practice at 10 Chapel Street, Penzance.

1873: The Post Office Directory lists him as a surgeon, at 10 Chapel Street.

1893: Kelly’s Directory gives him as a surgeon, at 10 Chapel Street; Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for No. 5 District.

1898, 17 Nov: The Cornish Telegraph gives him attending the Mayoralty Banquet for Richard Pearce Couch at which Q was the speaker.

1900, 6 Nov: The West Briton of Thursday 8 November gives the 6 November as the day of his death. (The monument and the Evening Tidings of the 9 November give the 6 November as the day of his burial.)

1900, 13 Nov: The Evening Tidings, Penzance Burial Board. Executives of the late Dr. Couch, Mrs. Florence Thackeray and Mrs. Elizabeth Pooley applied for grave spaces and a consecrated portion was granted.

11th Nov 1830
11th Nov 1900