Lives of the fellows

Charles Arthur Hopkins

b.7 October 1919 d.23 November 1994
MB ChB Liverp(1943) MRCP(1951) FRCP(1973)

Charles Hopkins was born in Warrington, Lancashire, and educated at Caldy Grange Grammar School, West Kirby. This was the beginning of a life long association with the Wirral and Liverpool. He graduated in medicine at Liverpool University and, after completing house officer appointments at Walton Hospital, joined the RAMC. He held the rank of captain in the East Africa Corps and was posted to Somalia, where the poverty and suffering of the local population from malnutrition and tuberculosis made a lasting impression on him.

After the war Charles returned to Liverpool as a medical registrar at Walton Hospital and in 1952 he was appointed as registrar in chest diseases at the regional cardiothoracic centre, Broadgreen Hospital, where he himself contracted TB which, fortunately, rapidly responded to chemotherapy. Two years later he became a senior registrar. He was subsequently appointed assistant chest physician and finally, in 1960, consultant and deputy physician superintendent at Aintree (Fazakerley) Hospital. He was also appointed an honorary clinical lecturer at Liverpool University and greatly enjoyed teaching the next generation of doctors the art of chest medicine. Charles was always a thoughtful and self-effacing physician and is still remembered with affection by his patients. He understood the rapid changes that were taking place in his specialty and had the vision to develop a modern chest service.

In 1981 he was elected president of the North West Thoracic Society and for his presidential lecture he gave a memorable historical review of chest medicine in Liverpool which, alas, was never published. As well as an interest in the history of Liverpool medicine, he developed a considerable knowledge of Liverpool history and architecture. He was a great supporter of the Liverpool Medical Institution and it gave him pleasure to become a life member in 1992.

Charles had two main interests outside medicine: gardening and music. He had a lively wit and a fine sense of humour, an infectious enthusiasm, his own philosophy of life and a talent for friendship. His wife Molly (née Farrington) was the daughter of an architect and together they designed a house and large formal garden. There were no children of the marriage. Following the death of his wife he discovered an interest in music and became a loyal supporter of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He died suddenly while shopping in Chester and it was a fitting tribute to him that a small ensemble of the orchestra played at his funeral. Although Charles was an only child and had no surviving family, he had a wide circle of friends and in his quiet and unassuming way was a support and help to many.

J E Earis

[Brit.med.J., 1995,310,1134]

(Volume X, page 227)

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