Lives of the fellows

Una Christina Ledingham

b.2 January 1900 d.19 November 1965
MB BS Lond(1923) MD Lond(1927) MRCS LRCP(1923) MRCP(1928) FRCP(1947)

Una Ledingham was the daughter of James Louis Garvin, the editor of The Observer, and Christina, née Wilson. She was educated at South Hampstead High School and the London School of Medicine for Women (later the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine), and held house posts at the Brompton, the Royal Free and Royal Northern Hospitals until 1925, when she returned to her parent hospital as medical registrar. In 1931 she was appointed to its staff. There, at the Hampstead General Hospital, and at the Marie Curie Hospital she developed a special interest in diabetes, and was an expert on the problems of the pregnant diabetic woman.

Intelligent and gifted, and with tireless energy, she somehow managed to run her husband’s practice without curtailing her own consulting and hospital work while he was on active service in the Second World War. She was a senior examiner for the College and for the University of London, and from 1957 to 1960 a member of the Board of Governors of the Royal Free Hospital.

She was one of those rare teachers who could present a patient in his total environment, but was as much feared as respected by her students. In some ways she was her own worst enemy; only the discerning could appreciate her fairness, broadmindedness and deeply felt sympathy for her patients, under a rather hard exterior and a tendency to mar her brilliant conversational powers with an overpungent wit.

In 1925 she married Dr John (‘Jock’) Ledingham. They had one son, who became a physician to Westminster Hospital, and one daughter.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1965, 2, 1314 (p), 1553; Lancet, 1965, 2, 1136-7.]

(Volume V, page 241)

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