Lives of the fellows

Stephen Charles Gold

b.15 August 1915 d.29 March 2017
BA Cantab(1937) MRCS LRCP(1940) MB BChir(1941) MRCP(1947) MD(1952) FRCP(1958)

Stephen Gold was president and secretary of the British Association of Dermatologists, a key figure in the development of dermatology at St George’s Hospital, London, an inspirational teacher and a much-loved personality in British dermatology.

The son of Philip Gold and Amy Frances Gold née Perry, Stephen studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and then won an exhibition to study clinical medicine at St George’s Hospital, London. The Second World War interrupted his training, but he did get an early taste of dermatology as a houseman. After qualification, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served for four years in India. Soon after the war and his return to England, he became a dermatology registrar at St George’s, working with Hugh Gordon [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.193]. In 1947, he acquired his MRCP and became St George’s first senior registrar, with sessions at St John’s Hospital. To broaden his experience before beginning as a consultant, Stephen spent a year working in the academic departments in Philadelphia (under Donald M Pillsbury) and in Zürich (with Guido Miescher). In 1949, he was appointed as a consultant with sessions at St George’s and St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, and was soon appointed to the Postgraduate Medical School of London at Hammersmith. To make up a full working week, he established a private practice. He continued with this blend of different work opportunities throughout his long career.

He had a passion for St George’s and as chairman of the medical advisory committee played an important role in the gradual move from the Hyde Park Corner site to Tooting, where the teaching hospital has subsequently evolved. He established the teaching of dermatology to medical students. In the 1950s he saw the need for an academic component to St George’s dermatology, and was instrumental in creating a senior lectureship – a post filled by Ken Sanderson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web], who was then his colleague until he retired. He made significant contributions to the clinical literature, particularly on lupus erythematosus.

Stephen was a diligent supporter of the British Association of Dermatologists. He was secretary from 1965 to 1970 and president from 1978 to 1979. He was also active at the Royal College of Physicians. He was an elected council member, chairman of the dermatological committee and an MRCP examiner for many years. He was a strong supporter of the dermatology section of the Royal Society of Medicine, and played an important role in their acquisition of the Post Office building adjacent to it, enabling much better facilities to be developed. Throughout his career, Stephen was an enthusiastic supporter of the Dowling Club, a postgraduate educational society, often enlivening their overseas trips.

Stephen will be remembered as a dermatologist with an incisive clinical acumen, who was kind to his patients, supportive to colleagues and encouraging to students. He had a great sense of fun. Those who worked with him remember his enthusiasm, loyalty, energy and capacity to see the bigger picture. Inseparable from his personality was his physical presence – the upright stance, military moustache, always courteous and with an elegant dress sense.

After retirement, Stephen wrote a history of dermatology at St George’s and an invaluable biographical history of British dermatology (www.bad.org.uk/about-us/history/biographical).

Stephen was survived by his wife Betty (née Sheedy), whom he married in 1941, a daughter and three sons, 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Cameron Kennedy

(Volume XII, page web)

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