Lives of the fellows

Thomas Watts Eden

b.8 May 1863 d.22 September 1946
MB CM Edin(1888) MD FRCS Edin FRCP(1905) FRCOG

Thomas Watts Eden was born at Evesham, the only son of Alfred Thomas Eden. He was educated privately and at Edinburgh University, where he had a brilliant career, gaining the Ettles and James Scott scholarships in 1888, the year of his graduation as M.B., C.M., and the Leckie Mactier fellowship in the next year. He then served in junior appointments at the Edinburgh Royal Maternity Hospital and Royal Infirmary and as assistant to the professor of clinical medicine, and did post-graduate work at London, Berlin and Leipzig. In London, where he settled, he made lasting connections with the Chelsea Hospital for Women, Queen Charlotte’s Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital. At the last-named he was elected assistant physician in 1898 and physician in 1912, and lectured on midwifery and the diseases of women after 1912; and all three Hospitals appointed him to their consulting staffs on his retirement. He examined both for the Conjoint Board and for Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Leeds Universities. During the 1914-1918 War he was a major in the R.A.M.C. He succeeded to the presidency of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1930, being the second obstetrician to hold the office, and was one of the founders of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He also concerned himself with the standard of efficiency and the welfare of midwives.

Eden, however, was best known within the profession as the author of a number of leading textbooks, Manual of Midwifery (1906), Manual of Gynaecology (1911), and, in collaboration with Cuthbert Lockyer, Gynaecology for Students and Practitioners (1916). In 1917, again with Lockyer, he edited The New System of Gynaecology. As chairman of the board of The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Empire, he continued an association with this periodical, which he had begun, as its editor, early in his career. Eden attributed great importance to the instruction of students and opposed excessive specialisation. His character showed a firmness of purpose coupled with equanimity and modesty. In retirement in North Devon he rode and golfed to a late age. He married in 1900 Mary Frances, only daughter of John Dove Bain of Cockermouth. He died at Torbay.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1946; B.M.J., 1946]

(Volume IV, page 464)

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