Lives of the fellows

Charles Kay Warrick

b.25 January 1915 d.18 June 2006
CBE(1978) MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BS Lond(1940) DMR(1941) FRCS Edin(1946) FFR(1953) MRCP(1966) FRCP(1973) FRCR(1975)

During his working life Charles Kay Warrick initiated and became greatly influential in the development of training schemes for diagnostic radiologists and radiographers in Newcastle upon Tyne. Charles was born and brought up in Bromley, Kent, where his father, Robert Charles Warrick, controlled the family business of Warrick Bros., pharmaceutical chemists. After attending Sutton Valence School in Kent Charles entered St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School just before the Second World War, qualifying with the conjoint board in 1939 and taking a junior RMO post at Bromley Hospital. Obtaining the MB BS in 1940, he was initially interested in surgery, taking up posts at Bart’s that year, the Royal West Sussex Hospital, Chichester, in 1942, the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), Newcastle, in 1944 and the Edenhall Hospital, Musselburgh, in 1945. In 1946 he gained his fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. However, as a second string, he had earlier spent a year in the cancer department at Bart’s, taking the London DMR in 1941. Eventually he decided to switch from surgery to radiology and in 1946 he returned to the RVI, as first assistant to the radiology department, where he remained for the rest of his career, becoming consultant in 1949, sitting the FFR (later FRCR) in 1953 and succeeding Whately Davidson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.135] as radiologist in charge in 1961.

His energy and enthusiasm for his developing specialty led him to initiate a training school for radiographers in the early 1950s and soon after to take trainee radiologists in conjunction with Edinburgh. In 1956, with the assistance of the physicist, Frank Farmer, he oversaw the appointment of the first two radiologists directly into the Newcastle programme to train for the DMRD and later for the FFR. It was a programme that gradually expanded over the succeeding years with increasing appreciation of his morning and occasionally evening teaching sessions. The medical school of the University of Durham, later Newcastle, recognised his enthusiasm for teaching and appointed him clinical teacher in 1949, lecturer in radiological anatomy in 1951 and lecturer and head of the academic department of radiology from its foundation in 1961 until his retirement in 1980. At that time his friends and colleagues inaugurated a final year undergraduate competition ‘the Charles Warrick prize’ in the faculty of medicine at the University of Newcastle, to commemorate his professional life and the teaching of medical students. Charles presented the prize, in person, annually until his 90th year in 2005.

Throughout his career he followed up his earlier surgical experience with an interest in skeletal radiology. He wrote on calcaneal fractures and on polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, was a founder member of the International Skeletal Society and a lecturer at their earlier symposia. Other interests included efforts to limit the harmful effects of radiation by dose reduction, particularly during pregnancy, in the days before the advent of diagnostic ultrasound. His textbook Anatomy and physiology for radiographers (London, Edward Arnold) went into five editions between 1960 and 1976, while his many other publications on a wide variety of topics led to his honorary award of the MRCP in 1966 and advancement to FRCP in 1973.

Soon after his appointment as consultant in charge the inevitable claims of committee and advisory duties ensued and there was a gradual progression from member to chairman of the RVI house committee, the consultant staff, medical advisory, hospital management, regional specialist and distinction awards committees – and that is not a complete list. His appointments as adviser in radiology to No 1(Northern) Regional Hospital Board and to the governments of Sierra Leone and Nigeria gave him particular satisfaction. It was perhaps in recognition of this taxing load of committee work that he was awarded the honour of CBE in 1978.

In addition to committee work in Newcastle, he was an active supporter of both the Faculty, later Royal College, of Radiologists, serving as a member of council and the fellowship board, an examiner for part one of the FFR and chairman of its examination board. He gave the Knox lecture in 1972: ‘Polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, a possible hypothesis to account for the associated endocrinological changes’, his special interest at the time. The British Institute of Radiology also received his support – he was a member, then chairman, of its medical committee and of its North of England branch. He also became secretary and vice-president of the section of radiology of the Royal Society of Medicine and was an active member of the Radiologists Visiting Club.

However it was not all professional work – he enjoyed the hard physical tasks of tree planting in the grounds of his cottage at Elrington in Northumberland. He developed an interest in ceramics, particularly in masons ironstone ware and became a skilled repairer of broken pieces of china. He joined the Friends of the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle and, inevitably, became a valuable chairman of the Friends for several years. In addition he worked unobtrusively for the Cyrenians, an organisation helping to support some of the destitute on Tyneside.

Charles never married, but he was devoted to his sister Katharine and his two nieces, Sarah and Ann. It was an honour and a very pleasant experience to attend the birthday party he gave last year to celebrate his 90th birthday. Apart from a degree of arthritis he was in good shape and it was a great relief that his terminal illness was very short.

Peter Hacking
Phil Owen

(Volume XII, page web)

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