Lives of the fellows

Stephen Hubert Llewellyn Smith

b.16 December 1912 d.26 December 1996
BA BM BCh Oxon(1938) MRCP(1946) FRCP(1965)

Stephen Llewellyn Smith was a general physician with an interest in neurology based in Lewisham, South London. The son of Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith, he was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University, where he obtained a degree in physiology. He was given a war memorial scholarship to Guy’s Hospital. He qualified in 1938 and was appointed assistant house physician and then assistant house surgeon at Guy’s. He was appointed an out-patient officer in 1939.

In 1940 he joined the RAMC and was medical officer to the 7th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade. In 1941 he was transferred for general duties to the Military Hospital for Head Injuries in Oxford, and from 1942 to 1945 he was appointed as a specialist in neurology and general medicine to No 4 Mobile Neurosurgical Unit in the Western Desert. Finally in 1945 he finished his war career as medical specialist at No 92 General Hospital.

From 1945 to 1950 he was a medical registrar and then a senior medical registrar at Guy’s and passed the MRCP examination in 1946. In 1950 he was appointed senior medical registrar to the Lewisham Hospital Group and also for one session a week as chief assistant to the physician at Moorfields Hospital. This latter appointment he continued for the rest of his career. In 1952 he was appointed consultant physician in general medicine to the Lewisham group and worked mainly at Lewisham General Hospital until his retirement in 1967.

As far as his career at Lewisham was concerned it should be understood that, despite the fact that it is a large and busy acute general hospital, there has never been a consultant neurologist on the staff nor a neurological department. He was appointed as a general physician but in practice he used the knowledge and expertise he had acquired during the war at the Head Injuries Unit in Oxford and at the Mobile Neurosurgical Unit in the Western Desert and was valued as a skilled neurologist.

After his retirement he took a locum appointment for several years to found and develop the Birdwood unit at Grove Park Hospital in the Lewisham group which looked after patients with chronic illnesses severe enough to necessitate permanent in-patient care. This involved a good deal of work travelling to different parts of the country to make sure that the applicants to join the unit were suitable.

He married Betty Bell in 1952 and they had a son and two daughters. They lived in Chislehurst in Kent and later in nearby Orpington. His hobbies were gardening, painting, walking and chess. He was a conscientious and very able clinician and entirely unambitious in the worldly sense. He was a very modest and a kindly man who worked hard and was well trusted by his patients. He was also amusing and witty but, though shrewd about others, he was never malicious and he had a close circle of good friends.

T M L Price

(Volume X, page 455)

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