“The Trent and I go wandering by”

Robert George Hogarth


Lord Webb-Johnson, in his forward, described Robert George Hogarth’s autobiography, The Trent and I go wandering by as his fireside chat as he reminiscences in stories of his life and ultimately his work as consultant surgeon for the Nottingham General Hospital.

Coming as it did, it is a timely autobiography as it was published three years after the ending of World War II when, as hinted to in the final chapter, food rationing was still very much part of people’s daily lives. Also, it was published the year of the inception of the National Health Service, which, as you will see as you read through his autobiography, Hogarth was a staunch supporter of.

Apart from his many sporting activities and the many influential people he made friends with, Hogarth charts, in detail, the progress and development of the Nottingham General Hospital from his time, which began in 1894.

Apart from charting the hospitals development and expansion, Hogarth also describes those to whom the hospital owes a great debt of gratitude that is those who gave generously their time and money to the expansion of the hospitals services. For example, Colonel Sir Charles Seely, Hogarth describes him as a person with a distinct personality; a great autocrat, very stylish in his appearance and generally dressed in a black tailcoat, and wearing white spats. It was said, as chairman of the hospital board Seely had a great idea of looking ahead and did practically what he liked at the Hospital, and as a long-term policy he bought up all the property surrounding the Hospital, by paying for it himself.

It must be borne in mind that Hogarth was himself influential in introducing services to the Nottingham General Hospital as well. Services, although greatly advanced, benefit people still to this day, that being Radiotherapy. Originally set up in 1901 for the treatment of certain skin cancers, the centre, in 1948 was renamed, by the Duke of Portland as the Hogarth Radiotheraputic Centre.

48, The Ropewalk, Nottingham

The Patients Hotel and Maternity Unit, Nottingham City Hospital opened 1994

Hogarth was also influential in the building of the General Hospitals Pay Bed Wing and after his death in 1953, in his will, he left his home to the Nottingham General Hospital 48, The Ropewalk in Nottingham’s Park Estate to be used as a hostel for patients coming from areas outside of Nottingham for radiotherapy treatment. It was this hostel that was to become the catalyst for the Patients Hotel, which opened its doors in 1994 at the Nottingham City Hospital.

The Pay Bed Wing, Nottingham General Hospital

Although originating from the Nottingham General Hospital, the name Hogarth perpetuates still to this day with a ward bearing his name at the Nottingham City Hospital.

Finally, Hogarth’s autobiography ends in 1948, apart from the year of publication was also the year of his eightieth birthday. Therefore, apart from describing the expansion of the Nottingham General Hospital, he also describes it as a very modern hospital, ready to take on the challenges of the new National Health Service.

The Nottingham General Hospital finally closed its doors in 1993!

Paul R. Swift B.A.

Honorary Archivist,

Nottingham University Hospitals N.H.S. Trust


To read Hogarth’s ‘The Trent and I go wandering by ‘

click on the book cover