Lives of the fellows

George Francis (Sir) Blacker

b.23 October 1865 d.21 May 1948
CBE(1920) MD Lond FRCS(1891) FRCP(1902)

George Blacker was a Dubliner, the third son of Major-General Latham Blacker and his wife Harriet de Maine, daughter of Captain Bagot Smith. He was educated in England, however, at Cheltenham and University College, London. His career as a student showed the highest promise, and, after qualifying in 1890, he won the Atkinson-Morley surgical scholarship and took the F.R.C.S. in 1891. Choosing to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology, he remained at University College Hospital in junior appointments and in 1893 was elected assistant obstetric physician. He lectured on midwifery in the Medical School and held office as dean for many years. Blacker also served on the staff of the Royal Northern Hospital, and, on retirement, was elected consulting obstetric physician of both institutions. During the 1914-1918 War he was a captain in the R.A.M.C. He examined on behalf of the Conjoint Board and London, Liverpool and New Zealand Universities. He contributed articles to medical textbooks and in 1910 edited the seventh edition of Galabin’s Practice of Midwifery. The use of radium in gynaecology attracted his attention, and in 1929 he became president of the Radium Institute.

But medical education was Blacker’s foremost interest. A supporter of the report of the 1913 Royal Commission on University Education in London, he advocated the creation of whole-time medical professorships and performed invaluable services in his administration of the Rockefeller Foundation’s gift of £1,000,000 in support of this and other projects. He favoured, too, the extension of the facilities for teaching midwifery to medical students. Blacker, who was made C.B.E. in 1920 and knighted in 1923, was energetic and cheerful but unostentatious in character. He lived in Hampshire and Surrey after retiring and died at Frensham. He married in 1904 Shirley Elvina, daughter of Canon T. J. Bowen of Bristol, and had one son.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1948; B.M.J., 1948; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1949, 8]

(Volume IV, page 435)

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