b.25 October 1877 d.29 August 1955
MB ChB Edin(1901) MD Edin(1905) MRCP(1936) FRCP(1940)
Rupert Hallam was born in Norfolk Street, Sheffield, the eldest son of Arthur Hallam, at that time honorary surgeon to the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, and father of seven children, three of whom qualified in medicine. His mother was Harriet Martineau, daughter of Walter Shaw, of Chesterfield, well-known in his day for his nonconformist views.
He was educated at the Sheffield Grammar School and from the age of twelve to seventeen at Hamburg, Germany, before reading medicine at Edinburgh, and held various house appointments at the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, where his student interest in dermatology was confirmed. He was appointed to the staff as honorary dermatologist in 1910.
At this time radiology was being introduced into hospitals and Hallam, as the junior member of the staff, was put in charge of this infant department. This fortuitous association stood him in good stead in applying radiotherapy to dermatology, and he was able to hand over a flourishing department when the first full time radiologist was appointed. He was one of the early members of the Radium Commission.
In building the department of dermatology in Sheffield, Hallam was many years ahead of his time in incorporating into the structure of the department many ideas from the numerous clinics he visited abroad during his summer holidays. He firmly believed that dermatologists must have a sound training in general medicine, and that the department must be closely integrated within a general hospital.
As early as 1934 he established a post of full time clinical assistant, analagous to that of the present day senior registrar. A founder member of the North of England Dermatological Society, and president of the British Association of Dermatology in 1936, he made many contributions to his specialty. His research was centred on the common disorders and he is best remembered for his work on papular urticaria and chilblains.
He was an inspiring teacher and, in spite of a large, demanding private practice, his first care was always the hospital patient; his punctuality at clinics and ward-rounds was a by-word in Sheffield. Although reserved and rather austere, owing to shyness and an inability to tolerate insincerity, he was always ready to help and guide his junior colleagues, and fulfilled the various administrative tasks which fell to the lot of the honorary staff with distinction.
He realised the importance of active recreation and took up painting at the age of forty, a hobby which gave him great pleasure after retirement. This was delayed by the war service of his junior colleagues, and he eventually left the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, in 1945. In his honour the department was named the Rupert Hallam Department, and his self-portrait is in the staff room.
In 1908 he married Miss Kathleen Marion Edge, of Shifnal, Salop, the daughter of Joseph Edge, company director, and had two sons and one daughter.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.J.Derm., 1955, 67, 407-08; Brit.med.J., 1955, 2, 741-2 (p); Lancet, 1955, 2, 568 (p).]
(Volume V, page 169)
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