Lives of the fellows

Norman George Hulbert

b.3 January 1911 d.9 November 1982
MRCS LRCP(1934) MA MB BChir Cantab(1935) MRCP(1937) MD(1940) FRCP(1964)

Norman George Hulbert was born in India, his father Joseph George Hulbert being a lieutenant colonel in the Indian Medical Service. His mother, Elsie Frances, was the daughter of Alexander Brooke, a merchant of the City of London and Handford, Cheshire. He was educated at Wellington, Trinity College, Cambridge, and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1934. He spent several years in the cardiology department at Bart’s, and then at the Royal Chest Hospital, before making neurology his special interest. Throughout his career, however, he successfully and proudly remained a general physician. He was a brilliant teacher, and medicine continued to be fresh and exciting for him all his days.

Hulbert was formerly consulting physician to the West End Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the Metropolitan Hospital, the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and the Mildmay Mission Hospital. He was also chief medical officer of the Sun Life Assurance Society. The favourite among his hospitals was the Mildmay and, one way or the other, he gave it 42 years of faithful service. Deeply valuing the spirit of Christian vocation and service that permeated the hospital, he fought hard for its retention when it was threatened with closure. As a teacher he had an endless flow of instructive anecdotes, but what emerged most strongly was his warmth and his ability to inspire hope. Committees gave him less pleasure, but he did not spare himself from hospital meetings, enlivening them with his wit and shortening them with his clarity of thought.

In 1936 he married Joan Margery (Primrose Rostran, the writer) daughter of Owen Frances Grazebrook, JP, at St George’s, Hanover Square. They had two children: a son and a daughter, and six grandchildren.

He never sought to own a car, maintaining that public transport was quicker and cheaper, so that it was by bus and tube, with bowler hat and furled umbrella, that he reached his numerous and scattered appointments. In his early days he had a bowler for Bart’s and a trilby for his East End hospitals, but he later kept to the bowler, which he said would serve as protection if he should be coshed. He greatly enjoyed being photographed by tourists. Since he found medicine so entertaining he hardly needed diversions, but in his younger days he followed beagles, and he enjoyed fly-fishing. He was also an excellent fencer, and was elected a member of the Epée Club in 1957.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1982, 285, 1753]

(Volume VII, page 283)

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