Lives of the fellows

Thomas Wigram Lloyd

b.19 May 1910 d.15 November 1984
BA Oxon(1931) BM BCh(1934) DM(1941) MRCP(1937) FRCP(1968)

Thomas Lloyd was descended on his father’s side from the Quaker Lloyds, six generations of whom were landowners at Dolobran, near Welshpool, before the Civil War, after which they moved to Birmingham where they became first ironmasters and then bankers. In 1765 Sampson Lloyd and Sampson Lloyd, father and son, and John Taylor and John Taylor, father and son, established the private banking firm of Taylor & Lloyd in Birmingham; a century later this became a limited liability company, Lloyds Banking Co Ltd., and until a few years ago a member of the family continued to serve on the board of Lloyds Bank. Tom’s father, Thomas Zachary Lloyd, studied mechanical engineering at King’s College, London, and became a director of the Midlands industrial giant Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds. On his mother’s side, his grandfather was a land agent at Coningham, near Newark, and his great-grandfather, Wigram, was Bishop of Rochester.

Tom was educated at West House School, Clifton College, and Lincoln College, Oxford. He returned to Birmingham for his clinical undergraduate training and graduated in medicine from Oxford in 1934. There after he held house officer posts in medicine and surgery at the General Hospital, Birmingham, and was house physician at the Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, and the Radcliffe Infirmary at Oxford. Subsequently he held the Caroline Harrold research fellowship in the University of Birmingham, where he studied the anaemias of childhood at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital under the guidance of Sir Leonard Parsons [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.588] and H S Baar. A number of valuable publications resulted; the work provided the material for his DM thesis and he was elected a fellow of the International Society of Haematology. He became a member of the College in 1937.

It was obvious that a career of great distinction lay before him, for he was a man of high intelligence and great energy, with enormous charm and courtesy, the gift of warm friendship and a delightful sense of humour. Moreover, he had wide interests. His handicap at golf was two, he held a commission in the 5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment (TA), was very widely read, and was greatly interested in music - playing the piano and the violin, but especially enjoying singing in choirs and madrigals, the works of Peter Warlock and Vaughan Williams being particular favourites.

When the second world war arrived an apparently assured and brilliant future was in jeopardy. Under the scheme for the redeployment of medical manpower he was sent to assist in a general practice in Herefordshire, but after only two or three weeks there he was found to have extensive pulmonary tuberculosis. He went to Midhurst, where he had a three stage thoracoplasty, and during convalescence was an assistant medical officer first at Midhurst itself and then at Winsley Sanatorium. When he was further recovered he became chief medical officer at the National Sanatorium at Benenden, and his work there was so impressive that he was invited to become physician superintendent at St Wulstan’s Hospital, Malvern Wells; a new hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis. Under his direction the hospital ran smoothly and the patients were happy and received superb treatment. Tom’s interest in research was rekindled and he published important papers on the new antituberculous drugs, streptomycin, PAS and isoniazid, which were just coming into use.

He became a JP for Worcestershire and bought a beautiful house with a fine garden opposite the Abbey School and this gave him a great deal of happiness. It looked as though he was destined to become one of the world authorities on tuberculosis, but in a few years the new drugs on which he had done such excellent work virtually removed tuberculosis from the western world.

At the age of 49, Tom therefore had to start a new career as physician with a special interest in the elderly at the Cheltenham and Gloucester hospitals. He quickly established a prodigious reputation in the south-west, for he was a superb physician with a wide knowledge of medicine and a wholly altruistic approach to it, and his own sufferings gave him the capacity to understand the anxieties and difficulties of sick people; to support their morale as well as to heal their ills. Although he worked incessantly his interest in research never left him and he took a prominent part in devising the ambulift. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1968.

The Gloucester hospitals have a fine choir and participating in its activities gave him great pleasure. When he reached retiring age he went to live in Alicante. The warmth and the sun suited him and he welcomed the opportunity to spend more time gardening, playing golf, reading and listening to music, and he took up painting at which he became more than competent. He gathered around him a coterie of retired intellectuals living in Spain and their company kept his ever fertile brain active and interested. Sadly, this blissful existence lasted only six years, for then he developed carcinoma of the stomach. A gastrectomy left him with severe dysphagia which he courageously overcame with a mercurial bougie. As the months went by hopes of cure increased but in 1984 there was widespread recurrence and his last months were distressing in the extreme, but he never complained and remained cheerful, optimistic and totally devoid of self-pity to the end. Few men have such courage.

Tom was the youngest of three brothers, one of whom was headmaster of Uppingham for 21 years, and the other a director of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds and the son-in-law of Neville Chamberlain. Tom met and married Margo Beasley whilst at Midhurst. Their daughter became a member of the College and their son was at the Chancery Bar.

AGW Whitfield

[Brit.med.J., 1985,290,81]

(Volume VIII, page 287)

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