Lives of the fellows

Charles Wilfred Vining

b.20 April 1883 d.3 April 1967
MB BS Lond(1907) MD(1908) DPH(1911) MRCP(1912) FRCP(1926)

Wilfred Vining was born in Liverpool, son of Robert Willoughby Vining. He was educated at Doncaster Grammar School and at University College School, London. In 1902 he entered St. Mary’s Hospital with a scholarship in natural science, and qualified MB BS with honours in medicine in 1907. He acted as casualty physician, house physician and prosector in anatomy at St. Mary’s Hospital, and as a clinical assistant at the Paddington Green Children’s Hospital and the Central London Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital.

In 1912 when he started consulting practice in Leeds, he was appointed assistant physician at the Leeds General Infirmary and lecturer in Clinical Medicine in the School, but, in 1919, when the medical children’s department opened, he gave up his adult beds. He was elected a Fellow in 1926, and in 1927 was appointed Professor of Children’s Diseases with an honorarium of £50 per annum.

An original member of the British Paediatric Association, he became its president in 1947. He served for some years on the technical advisory panel in paediatrics of the Leeds Regional Hospital Board.

When reflecting on the growth of paediatrics, it is interesting to recall that when Dr. Vining became the first full-time paediatrician in the West Riding of Yorkshire, besides acting as consultant to a considerable part of the region, he supervised the paediatric beds in Leeds with the help of a couple of house physicians and sporadic aid from that extinct factotum, the old RMO.

Professor Vining had finished his training before the dawn of the biochemical era had made its impact on paediatrics. His great interests lay logically in nutrition and behaviour. He was a pioneer in the advocacy of a diet generous in calories and protein. The opening to his presidential address to the Leeds and West Riding Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1941 ran: ‘I will begin with what I believe to be the keystone of the whole of children’s medicine, namely nutrition.’

His students remembered him as one of the most inspiring teachers of his time. He had detailed case-sheets printed for their use. This method ensured that whatever errors might be committed they were not those of omission. It was the practice of the master at his teaching to read out the case-presentation and, with impish wit, add suitable comments to the delight of his audience.

On retiring from the full staff of the General Infirmary Vining was elected emeritus professor in 1946. His interests in the care of the sick received a further outlet in 1951, when he became a member of the Leeds Regional Area Nurses’ Training Committee, on which he served for eleven years.

He married in 1908 Marjorie Gladys Coleman of Epsom. Her brother was Ronald Coleman, the actor. There was a son and daughter. He survived his wife by a year.

EC Allibone

[Brit.med.J., 1967, 2, 183, 319; Lancet, 1967, 1, 855; Times, 4 Apr 1967]

(Volume VI, page 445)

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