Lives of the fellows

William Carey Smallwood

b.24 November 1906 d.18 February 1972
MRCS LRCP(1929) MB BCh Birm(1929) MRCP(1931) FRCP(1945) MD(1953)

William Smallwood was born in Birmingham and was educated at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, and the University of Birmingham.

After a brilliant undergraduate career and holding resident posts in Birmingham Hospitals, he obtained the MRCP and was appointed honorary physician to the Birmingham Childrens Hospital at the age of 27.

There followed several years of very productive research into nutritional and haematological disorders of childhood. In this work he was closely associated with Leonard Parsons, John Hawkesly and Evelyn Hickmans (the first paediatric biochemist in this country). In 1935 Smallwood was appointed honorary physician to the Queen’s (now the Accident) Hospital in Birmingham and rapidly built up a great reputation as a skilled general physician and an excellent teacher.

He served with the RAMC in India during the war, and was prevented by his absence abroad from delivering the Goulstonian Lectures.

A most respected physician, a most loyal friend, he nevertheless possessed a streak of inflexibility that at times alienated his friends and colleagues. Undergraduates of the permissive post-war era were unwilling to accept his dogmatic teaching. Yet even those with whom he was most in disagreement would acknowledge his unfailing devotion to his patients.

A keen mountaineer in his early days, he retained a love for the country and spent much of his leisure time fishing on the river Wye. He retired early to enjoy his recreations but a relentless illness filled his last years with much discomfort and pain.

In 1935 William Smallwood married Dorothy Ellen McGuilp of Derby. There were two sons and one daughter by the marriage. The elder son became a surgeon.

WHP Cant

[Brit.med.J., 1972, 1, 696; Lancet, 1972, 1, 601]

(Volume VI, page 409)

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