Lives of the fellows

William Goldie

b.31 December 1907 d.13 February 1970
MA Aberd(1927) MB ChB(1932) MRCPE(1936) MRCP(1938) FRCPE(1957) FRCP(1958) FRCPath(1964)

William Goldie, Bill to all his friends, was born at Aberdeen. His father, also William, was a surveyor of Customs and Excise. He was educated at Robert Gordon’s College and the University of Aberdeen, obtaining the MA in 1927 before qualifying MB, ChB in 1932. He gained the MRCP of Edinburgh in 1936 and of London in 1938. He was elected a Fellow of the Edinburgh College in 1957 and the London College in 1958. He was made a Fellow of the College of Pathologists in 1964.

After serving as house surgeon and house physician at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, he was appointed Thompson Research Fellow at the University, working with Sir Stanley Davidson, and during the three years of the appointment he developed interests in haematology and rheumatology. In 1937 he was appointed to the newly established Research Fellowship in Rheumatism at the University of Leeds. He was mainly engaged in the early trials in this country of gold therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with H.G. Garland and S.J. Hartfall, which led to many publications on the clinical and clinico-pathological aspects of arthritis. He also collaborated with another Research Fellow in Rheumatology, D.H. Collins, in the experimental and particularly in the microbiological aspects of arthritis. This led to the publication of a number of important papers in the late thirties and the early forties and again after the end of World War II.

The outbreak of World War II and the urgent needs of the Emergency Laboratory Service led to Bill Goldie’s secondment to the new service, first at Pocklington and later as Director of the North Riding service at Northallerton. At the end of hostilities he was offered a permanent appointment as Director of the services at Northallerton, but an unexpected vacancy in the directorship of the Pathological Services at St. James’s Hospital, Leeds, through the appointment of C.J. Poison to the Chair of Forensic Medicine, led to calls from his many friends, and particularly Professor Matthew Stewart, that he should return to Leeds. The attraction of a University appointment and contacts, a department of his own and the return for both himself and his wife to a wide circle of friends in Leeds, as well as the potentialities of St. James’s Hospital as a teaching hospital, combined to induce him to apply for the appointment. He was most successful in developing sound pathological services for St. James’s and the associated hospitals. His department became a popular training centre for young pathologists, and the regular clinico-pathological conferences attracted not only the clinicians of the hospital but many of the pathologists in the district. The administrative load of the department was heavy but, despite several periods of ill health, he never spared himself; nothing was too much trouble to maintain high standards of service, and he contributed greatly to the general development of the hospital.

Bill Goldie’s own work was confined mainly to the haematological and microbiological aspects but, with the appointment of additional consultants, he latterly concentrated upon the microbiological section of the Department and made many important contributions to medical literature in this field. His haematological interest, however, was maintained by his taking charge of the Regional Haemophiliac Centre. He enjoyed the clinical and personal contact with patients and never complained, in fact almost revelled in the arduous, emergency duties which the service sometimes required.

His interest in rheumatology was broadened partly through his researches in association with D.H. Collins but also through the inspiration of Rupert Willis, who succeeded Matthew Stewart in the Chair of Pathology at Leeds. Professor Willis encouraged him to form a working party on bone tumours. Initially the group was confined to local pathologists and clinicians and then, as other centres became interested, led to the formation of the National Bone Tumour Panel, of which Goldie was Chairman-elect at the time of his death.

Bill married Mary (Mollie) Agnes Mathieson in 1937, a fellow student and an enthusiastic and accomplished actress who shared Bill’s many interests in music and the arts. Their home was always a centre of such activities and they had many friends outside the medical profession in the theatrical, artistic and musical world, interests which their two daughters have followed. Bill Goldie’s capacity for friendship, his whimsical humour, gaiety and professional excellence endeared him to a wide circle of friends.

Sir Ronald Tunbridge
KS Zinnermann

[Brit.med.J., 1970, 1, 697; Lancet, 1970, 1, 428; J.Path., 105 (1971)]

(Volume VI, page 199)

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