Lives of the fellows

Francis Seaton Winton

b.26 April 1906 d.25 July 1982
MRCS LRCP(1930) MRCP(1932) FRCP(1968)

Seaton Winton was a gifted and unusual man. The study of public transport was for him an absorbing hobby and while resident assistant physician at St George’s Hospital, London, he would sit in a window overlooking Hyde Park Comer, noting the passing buses. He could tell the type, the number of that type in each garage, and such mundane details as their routes and timetables.

He was born in Wimbledon, London SW19, where he spent the greater part of his life. His father, William Balcombe Winton FRCP, also practised in Wimbledon and married Maria Elizabeth Bentley-Taylor, the daughter of a clergyman. Seaton was educated at the Cottesmore School, Hove, Gresham’s and the University of Cambridge, pursuing his clinical studies at St George’s. He never married.

After a period at St George’s he returned to Wimbledon and entered general practice, like his father before him. Asked why he made this choice instead of waiting for an appointment as physician at St George’s he said that he would have found such a post uncongenial. In practice, he was courteous and able. He never summoned a patient from the waiting room by sounding a bell but preferred to greet each one personally and conduct them to his consulting room. A spontaneous pneumothorax prevented him from entering military service during the second world war and he became, first a senior resident medical officer at the Nelson Hospital, and then consultant in the NHS to the Nelson and Wimbledon hospitals. All his life he endeavoured to work to the highest medical standards, yet he showed little interest in any further reading of medicine, although he was an omnivorous reader of detective novels.

Seaton played golf, snooker and bridge: after winning the spring meeting at the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club he gave up the game in favour of snooker; after winning the challenge cup for snooker he stopped playing, but until ill health prevented him he continued to play bridge with players of near international standard, such as Rodney Smith (Lord Smith of Marlow). He also enjoyed walking and gardening, characteristically only using the Latin names of his many flowers and shrubs.

He retired from medicine after suffering a partial left hemiplegia, but continued to live in his house which contained ‘the surgery’. He succumbed to a second stroke and died in St George’s Hospital. He expressly forbade a funeral service. He was survived by his sister, Joan.

AJW Beard
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

(Volume VII, page 617)

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