Lives of the fellows

Wilfrid Edgecombe

b.2 Mar 1871 d.1 Apr 1963
MB Lond(1893) MD Lond(1896) FRCS(1896) MRCP(1907) FRCP(1926)

Wilfrid Edgecombe, perhaps the last of the spa physicians, was born at Huyton, near Liverpool, the fifth son of George Edgecombe, of the Uplands, Blundellsands, and his wife, Fanny Marrin Hughman. He was educated at Liverpool University and University College, London, and was house physician, house surgeon, surgical registrar, and tutor at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary before settling in Harrogate in 1894. Contact with Dr George Oliver, who was interested in physiological research, turned his interests from surgery to medicine, and after he served for a short time in 1916 with the heart unit set up by Lewis at Colchester he devoted himself entirely to consultant practice.

From 1905 he had been on the staff of the Harrogate Infirmary, and it was due to his memorandum to its governors in 1919 that the Harrogate and District General Hospital was opened in 1932. For thirteen years he was chairman of its medical staff and so a fitting deputy-president for H.R.H. the Princess Royal, and an experienced and wise member when the Management Committee took over control on the appointed day in 1948.

Shortly after World War I he lectured in many medical schools on medical hydrology and spa treatment, and although he had a growing practice, founded on a brilliant clinical sense, he found time to serve on the Harrogate Town Council. His hobbies were many: golf, skating, gardening, and the writing of delightful Christmas poems, but his greatest love was curling at which he won many individual and team prizes.

Edgecombe was twice married; by his marriage to Jane Swinburne, of Workington, Cumberland, in 1898, he had two daughters and two sons, one of whom was killed in World War I, and the other joined the Royal Naval Medical Service. His first wife died in 1939, and in 1945 he married Gabrielle, daughter of Hugh Myddleton Butler, of Kirkstall, Yorkshire.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1963, 1, 1350-51 (p); Lancet, 1963, 1, 895.]

(Volume V, page 115)

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