Nottingham Hospitals History



President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1985 - 1986

Margaret Ellen Sprackling (nee Hughes), Consultant Physician in the Department of Health Care of the Elderly, became the second woman President of the Society after Miss Sarah Gray (1921-1922)

She was born in London and educated at Romford County High School for Girls (Essex) and Beckenham County Grammar School for Girls (Kent). To both schools she gratefully acknowledged the debt for opening up the world of learning. She trained at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School from 1953-1958, qualifying MB BS with Distinction in Medicine at the University of London in 1958.

She arrived in Nottingham newly qualified and registered. Her early career was spent as a clinical assistant and doing GP locums as she juggled career, domestic and maternal commitments. She worked in the newly created Department of Geriatric Medicine, as it then was. Passing the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (London) examination enabled her to apply for Senior Registrar and later a Consultant Physician post at the City Hospital, Nottingham. She well remembered her first visit to the City Hospital which reassuringly not only resembled the Central Middlesex Hospital of her student days, but also had the same long corridor! Sherwood Hospital also had its full complement of eight redbrick ward blocks, each housing sixty patients.

The advent of the new Medical School brought many changes, and her Department became the Department for Health Care of the Elderly. She enjoyed the added stimulus of teaching medical students, contributing to preclinical teaching (third year), and to clinical teaching on the wards (fifth year).

On arrival in Nottingham in 1960, Margaret joined the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society which then met in its beautiful Georgian period house at 64, St. James’ Street, Nottingham. She was an active member over the years, serving as Treasurer and Trustee, and was elected Honorary Life Member. Believing that each President had a personal and unique contribution to make to the Society, she arranged to have the Society’s collection of painting restored and re-hung in the Society’s newly decorated Council Room. She presented a specially made bookcase for the sake keeping of the Society’s historic Minute Books dating back many years.

A prominent member of the Medical Women’s Federation, she served locally (East Midlands Association) as Council representative, Careers Advisor for Nottingham and President, and nationally as Federation representative on the European Communities (EC) Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA). This proved to be a fascinating task, as the BMA Committee, as well as meeting quarterly in London, also travelled to attend the Standing Committee of Doctors of the EC at its annual Plenary Assembly to discuss matters of mutual interest with other EC doctors. She became Federation President 1988-1989.

Her commitment to community work in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victim Support where she shared the Serious Crime Committee for its nine years, and Soroptimist International, where she was Club and Region President, again taking a special interest in the international aspects.

A quiet, cultured and knowledgeable person, Margaret was keenly interested in the arts throughout her life, especially painting sculpture and textiles; she also enjoyed music, particularly opera. These interests, along with ancient history and architecture formed the basis of some fascinating holidays. However, in retirement her greatest pleasure was spending time with children, grandchildren and friends.