Lives of the fellows

Edmund Henry Colbeck

b.9 October 1864 d.16 December 1942
OBE(1920) BA Cantab(1887) MB BCh(1889) MD DPH FRCP(1904)

E. H. Colbeck, the fourth son of William Henry Colbeck, was born at Batley, Yorkshire, where his family owned woollen mills. His father emigrated to Toka Tapa, Auckland, and his education was divided between England and New Zealand; he went to school at Tonbridge and at Auckland, Nelson and Wellington, and studied at Dunedin University before matriculating at Caius College, Cambridge. He graduated as B.A., with first class honours in the natural sciences tripos, in 1887, and studied medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, taking the M.B., B.Ch., degrees in 1889. He was a house physician at St. Mary’s and acted as a clinical assistant at the Vienna General Hospital. In 1892 he was elected to the staff of the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, on which he remained for forty-five years; when he retired in 1937, having presided with strict but just autocracy over the house committee for half of this period, he v/as granted the title of emeritus physician. He was also on the staff of the Metropolitan Dispensary and physician (in London) to the Royal National Hospital for Consumption at Ventnor. During the war years, 1914 to 1918, he held the rank of major in the N.Z.M.C. and acted as consulting physician to the New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames and the South African Military Hospital at Richmond, receiving the O.B.E. in 1920. Colbeck was a cardiologist of the old school and put his faith in a good ear and experience rather than instruments. His books on Diseases of the Heart (1901) and The Science and Art of Prescribing (1902) both reached a second edition. Golf was his hobby, and he was the author, under "the pseudonym of The Burnham Hare ", of The Golfer's Swing. He married Susanna Mary Winearis and had a son and a daughter. He died at Farn-borough, Hampshire.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1943; B.M.J., 1943; Al.Cantab., ii, 87]

(Volume IV, page 459)

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