Sir John Charnley (1911 -
John Charnley was born on 29th August 1911 at Bury, Lancashire, and attended Bury Grammar School before proceeding to Manchester University, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B. in 1935, winning several prizes and scholarships. He was the only Manchester student ever to pass the primary F.R.C.S. examination (old regulations) while reading for the second M.B., and this enabled him to obtain the F.R.C.S., in 1936, just one years after qualifying. A major in the Royal Army Medical Corps (orthopaedic specialist) from 1939 to 1945, on returning to Manchester he became a lecturer in orthopaedics; in 1947 he was appointed consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary on the retirement of Sir Harry Platt, who had initially kindled his interest in orthopaedics, and at Park Hospital, Davyhulme.
John Charnley rapidly developed a large practice that reflected his skill as a surgeon and his devotion to hard work. With the conquering of tuberculosis he applied himself to the major problem of the day -
Unfortunately the early success was not longstanding, but the technology -
In 1957, having previously been considered a confirmed bachelor, Sir John married Jill. His best work followed as she created a beautiful home and an outstanding garden that gave him a tranquil haven to enable him to work at such a prodigious pace. They lived in style and entertained their many friends from home and abroad with considerable elan. They had two children, Tristam and Hetta.
Sir John’s three outstanding contributions could be said to be the use of high-