Lives of the fellows

William Moodie

b.15 March 1886 d.24 May 1960
MB ChB St And(1908) MD St And(1914) DPM Lond(1921) MRCP(1923) FRCP(1934)

William Moodie was born in Arbroath, Scotland, to Robert Moodie, F.E.I.S., and Mary Lithgow, daughter of Donald Mackintosh, a schoolmaster at Shotts, in Lanarkshire, and went up to St. Andrews University from Arbroath High School, where his father was the mathematics master. He was assistant professor of physiology, 1920-11, and Carnegie research scholar in clinical pathology, 1910-11. In 1912 interest in neuropathology took him to the L.C.C. Mental Hospital Service in the Central Pathological Laboratories at Maudsley Hospital, but service with the R.A.M.C, from 1914 to 1920 as a pathologist in France and with the Russian Expeditionary Force brought the new interest of clinical psychiatry, particularly in children.

For several months in 1927 he studied the newly introduced interdisciplinary technique of child guidance in America at the invitation of the Commonwealth Fund of America, and in 1929 became the first medical director of the London Child Guidance Clinic set up by this Fund.

Although already in his fifties he served from 1939 to 1942 as officer commanding the medical division of the British Military Hospital in Tobruk, and from then until 1945 in the same office at the Military Hospital in Gibraltar. On his return home he resumed his directorship, and was appointed assistant physician in the department of psychological medicine at University College Hospital.

After his retirement in 1953 he continued in consulting practice, unfortunately restricted physically by repeated small coronary thromboses.

Moodie's contribution to his specialty was the introduction and thoughtful development in England of child guidance through a team consisting of a child pyschiatrist, an educational psychologist and a pyschiatric social worker, a scheme then looked at askance by many doctors, but now accepted as a commonplace.

As a teacher he was at his best when explaining it and interpreting the problems of ‘difficult children' to doctors and parents. His major published works were concerned with child psychiatry and included The Doctor and the difficult child (1940), Child guidance (1946), The Doctor and the difficult adult (1947) and Hypnosis in treatment (1959).

Modest, reserved and diffident, with a dislike of doctrinaire systématisation and rigidity of thinking, he was not quick to adapt to changing social circumstances. In his younger days he was a keen musician, and as an intensely practical man was a natural craftsman with a life-long interest in engineering gadgets and radio.

In 1922 he married Mary Enid, daughter of William Johnston McKnight Hardy, a resident magistrate, of Eden Vale, Larne, co. Antrim. They had three daughters, two of whom survived him.

Richard R Trail

[, 1960, 1, 1742, 1963; Lancet, 1960, 1, 1253-4; Times, 25 May 1960.]

(Volume V, page 290)

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