Lives of the fellows

Geoffrey Hadfield

b.17 August 1889 d.9 January 1968
MB BS Lond(1911) MD(1912) FRCP(1932) FRCS(1954)

Geoffrey Hadfield was born in Manchester, the son of James Hadfleld, a merchant, and his wife Mariah, née Green. He spent most of his boyhood in Plymouth, whence he went up as a student to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, in 1905. He won several scholarships and prizes, became MB, BS London in 1911, and was awarded the Gold Medal in the London MD in 1912 at the early age of 24. He held house and other appointments at St. Bartholomew’s, the Metropolitan Hospital and the Miller Hospital, Greenwich.

He served in the RAMC throughout the war of 1914-18, at first in France, then at Gallipoli, later in Mesopotamia and again in France, working mainly in laboratories. In 1919 he was appointed pathologist to the Bristol General Hospital and demonstrator of pathology in the University, where he remained for nine years. Thereafter he successively held four Chairs of Pathology, at the Royal Free Hospital (1928-33), at Bristol (1933-34), at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (1934-48) and at the Royal College of Surgeons (1948-54). For five further years he was Director of Clinico-pathological Research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, and for six years after that he was a research fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons, finally retiring in 1965. Among his other appointments he was consultant in pathology to the Army.

Hadfield was in his early years a general clinical pathologist, but morbid anatomy and histology soon became his main interest. He was first and foremost a teacher, taking immense pains in planning courses of instruction and providing for their illustration with the aid of his expertise as a photographer. He taught the student to understand the structural changes underlying disease and to relate these to the clinical picture, an exercise for which he was well fitted by his own wide knowledge of clinical medicine. He reorganized the large pathological museum at St. Bartholomew’s, and when he went to the Royal College of Surgeons, became a Trustee of the Hunterian Collection. Here again teaching was a large part of his duties, during which he was instrumental in founding the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, of which he became Dean. He wrote on many subjects, his more important contributions being on cardiac disease, regional ileitis, blast injury, the mammotrophic hormone in female urine, and (in his last years) the pathology of wound healing. His opinion was often sought by his colleagues, and what he had to say was enlivened by a keen sense of humour as well as a well stocked memory.

He had few interests outside his work and his family. He married in 1918 Eileen Irvine, daughter of William Irvine of Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, and they had a daughter and two sons, all of whom became surgeons. He died at Henley.

LP Garrod

[Brit.med.J., 1968, 1, 187; Lancet, 1968, 1, 151; Times, 11 Jan 1968; J.Path., 1969, 97, 405]

(Volume VI, page 214)

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