Lives of the fellows

John Clifford Hoyle

b.4 July 1901 d.10 February 1976
MB BS Manch(1925) MD(1929) MRCP(1931) FRCP(1938)

Clifford Hoyle was born in Brierfield, Lancashire, where his father, John Hoyle, was a much loved general practitioner. His mother, Esther Brierley, was the daughter of a soap manufacturer. Clifford was educated at Sedburgh Preparatory, Rydal, and Manchester University, where he graduated in 1925. For three years he was a first assistant at London Hospital, subsequently being appointed a consultant at King’s College Hospital, the Brompton, and King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst.

Hoyle had worked with WE Dixon at Cambridge before serving under Sir John Parkinson and William Soares at the London, so that he brought a special knowledge of pharmacology to the practice of cardiology. Perhaps his most important achievement was the establishment of the department of medicine at King’s College Hospital, which he was appointed director, and which he handed over when a professor of medicine was appointed. His teaching ability was considerable. He brought to the bedside a healthy distrust of the use of drugs without proper proof of their efficacy. He sometimes deliberated a long time before making a firm diagnosis, but then rarely did he alter it, and he was at his best when teasing out clinical problems at the bedside. His command of English was such that he would sacrifice many hours in correcting the grammar and syntax of the papers of many of his juniors. His Lancashire accent persisted throughout life.

Hoyle was interested in the history of medicine, and at the time of his death was preparing a biography of Laënnec. His other great interests were opera, photography and gardening, greatly enjoying the latter on his retirement to Cornwall, his wife’s native county.

In 1931 he had married Mary Irene Rosewarne, the daughter of a Cornish mining engineer. They had two sons.

S Oram
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[Brit.med.J., 1976, 1, 591; Lancet, 1976, 1, 497; Times, 20 Feb 1976]

(Volume VII, page 279)

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