Lives of the fellows

Hugh John Wallace

b.21 February 1909 d.11 September 1984
MRCS LRCP(1935) MB BChir Cantab(1936) MA(1938) MRCP(1938) MD(1943) FRCP(1951)

Hugh Wallace was born of farming stock in Bedfordshire, where he completed his schooling. In childhood he was afflicted with a severe kyphoscoliosis, which left him a dwarf with a deep, rumbling voice. He started medicine at King’s College, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself academically with ease and coxed the College boat. He continued at St Thomas’s Hospital, where he was again recognized as a remarkably competent and enterprising student. After qualifying, he took up dermatology in close association with G B Dowling [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.163] with whom his professional and social life became intimately connected. During the war his physical disability prevented active service, so he was stationed at Woking in the Emergency Bed Service, which he turned into a centre of happy organization and professional enthusiasm. After the war he was appointed to the staff of St Thomas’s Hospital, London, and St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, in each of which he became a governor. In the College he gave the Watson Smith lecture and was a councillor, 1967-70, and an examiner. His private practice was outstandingly successful.

The key to Wallace’s professional life lay in his character and his association with G B Dowling, to whom he was a complement; being first a disciple, then colleague and finally successor. His friends tended to allow him the licence so often given to a cripple, and he would say and do things which needed to be said and done without offence. In every group his enthusiasm, friendliness and wise tolerance, made him the acknowledged centre. This was shown particularly in the Dowling Club, which he founded to bring together colleagues at home and abroad and to encourage the young, and which ended by making British dermatology an energetic and powerful force which attracted those with ambition and enterprise.

He was survived by his wife, also a doctor, and by a doctor son and nursing daughter.

J Bishop Harman

[Brit.med.J., 1984,289,1011,1150; The Times, 1 Oct 1984; St Thomas's Hosp.Gaz., Winter 1984,95-96]

(Volume VIII, page 520)

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