Lives of the fellows

Wilmot Parker (Sir) Herringham

b.17 April 1855 d.23 April 1936
KCMG(1919) CB(1915) BA Oxon(1877) DM Hon MD Dubl MRCS FRCP(1889)

Wilmot Herringham was born at Guildford, the son of Rev. William Walton Herringham and his wife Matilda, daughter of Colonel J. B. Parker of Woolwich. From Winchester, he went up to Keble College, Oxford, as a classical exhibitioner. He did not begin his medical career until after he had taken his B.A. degree in 1877 and studied law at Lincoln’s Inn for a short time. St. Bartholomew’s Hospital provided his clinical training, and, after winning the Kirkes gold medal and qualifying in 1881, he progressed through the usual junior appointments until elected assistant physician in 1895. He was made full physician and lecturer on forensic medicine in 1904 and consulting physician in 1919. Meanwhile he had acted as assistant physician (1883-88) and physician (1888-93) to the West London Hospital and as physician (1888-1900) to the Paddington Green Children’s Hospital. His most valued writings during these years dealt with the subject of kidney diseases.

Herringham found scope for his outstanding administrative abilities in the affairs of London University, and held office as its vice-chancellor from 1912 to 1915. In 1914 he was knighted, in recognition of his services as general secretary of the International Congress of Medicine of the previous year. Soon after the outbreak of war he relinquished his post as commander of the Medical Unit of London University O.T.C. and went to France as consulting physician to G.H.Q., later holding the same appointment with the Third Army. He was promoted to major-general in 1918 and created C.B. in 1915 and K.C.M.G. in 1919. His experiences were recorded in A Physician in France (1919). After the War, he declined an invitation to succeed Osier in the Regius chair of medicine at Oxford; he agreed, however, to take his place as medical member of the University Grants Committee, which he retained until 1932. He was chairman of Bedford College from 1920 until his death, of the Old Vic governors from 1921 to 1929 and of the General Nursing Council from 1922 to 1926. He represented the Royal College of Physicians, of which he was a Censor, on the Senate of London University from 1920 to 1928 and delivered the Harveian Oration in 1929. It was as a chairman, perhaps, that Herringham was best able to find expression for his qualities — his idealism, his integrity and straight-forwardness, his disregard for publicity and inessentials. These same qualities made him appear a formidable, even unapproachable, character to many. He was a man of diverse attainments — a classical scholar, linguist, orator, lover of the theatre and artist. He married in 1880 Christiana Jane, daughter of T. W. Powell of Guildford, herself an accomplished artist, and had two sons. He died at Lymington, Hampshire.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1936; B.M.J., 1936; St. Bart.'s Hospital Reports, 1936, lxix, 27; D.N.B., 1931-40, 424; Al.Oxon., ii, 649]

(Volume IV, page 334)

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