Lives of the fellows

Geoffrey Alan Hodgson

b.4 May 1910 d.18 August 1996
TD(1951) MBE(1945) BA Oxon(1932) MRCS LRCP(1935) BM BCh(1936) DM(1938) MA(1943) MRCP(1967) FRCP(1972)

Geoffrey Hodgson was a top class dermatologist with a special interest in occupational dermatology. His family came from Keswick in Cumbria, although he was born in Bromley, Kent, and spent most of his formative years in and around London. His father, Sir Edward Hodgson, was under-secretary at the Board of Trade and there seems to have been only one other physician in the family. At school in Felsted, Essex, he was an all-rounder, but shone particularly at sports. At St John’s College, Oxford, and later at St Thomas’s Medical School he continued to play hockey. He was, in addition, no academic slouch and won the Sutton Sams prize for gynaecology.

After qualifying at St Thomas’s he became an industrial medical officer, but he later returned to his alma mater and fell under the influence of Geoffrey Dowling [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.163]. He was appointed as consultant dermatologist in Cardiff in 1946 and worked first at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary and later at the University Hospital of Wales. He was widely known to be a shrewd and knowledgeable clinician with a deep understanding of, and sympathy for, his patients.

He became president of the British Association of Dermatologists in 1973. Teaching was a major interest of his and, with his colleague Eric Waddington [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.545], he founded the academic department of dermatology in the then Welsh National School of Medicine. He continued to teach long after formal retirement and his talks were greatly appreciated by generations of postgraduate students in Cardiff.

Few of his colleagues knew of his military background. He served in the Army as a dermatologist and was later appointed honorary physician to the Normandy Veterans Association. Yet it is difficult to imagine anyone less militaristic than Geoff Hodgson. Quiet, kind, self effacing, he loved travelling, music, fishing, Welsh culture and gardening. He strongly supported church activities and was a steward of Llandaff Cathedral.

He served as a JP for many years and was a well known and much loved figure in Cardiff. He was awarded the MBE (military) in recognition for distinguished service in dermatology in North West Europe. He had a rich family life and was devoted to his wife Beryl, whom he married in 1939, and his children, Lorna and Valerie.

R Marks

[Brit.med.J., 1996,313,939]

(Volume X, page 219)

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