Nottingham Hospitals Archives 2011
“The Trent and I go wandering by”
Robert George Hogarth
By the President of the Royal College of Surgeons
I am very glad to have the opportunity of writing a Forward to Robert Hogarth's story of his life and work. Only he himself could tell it, and he indulges in reminisces in such a charming chatty way that you almost feel you are sitting with him by his own fireside.
It is given to few to be blessed with so much affection and gratitude in his own city and, at the same time, to earn the admiration and respect of his professional brethren throughout the country. The reasons in Hogarth's case are not far to seek. He loves his fellow men, and is himself a lovable character. He is modest, fair-minded, versatile, takes part in most things, and is fond of sport and is a good sportsman. He has done things which the majority of men only achieve in their dreams.
Hogarth surgical training was of the very best, for nothing can equal the experience gained in resident hospital appointments. It takes a conscientious man of high ideals and determination however, to devote six years, with little or no remuneration, to obtaining training under supervision before offering his services to the public as an independent specialist and consultant. This Hogarth did, and thus, after some experience in general practice in addition, he became a great clinician, a surgeon of sound judgement, and an expert and dextrous operator. He knew, as Kipling said, that his calling would exact the most that he could give – full knowledge, exquisite judgement, and skill in the highest, to be put forth, not that any self-chosen moment, but daily that the need of others. Hogarth, therefore, first of all got a very training and then kept himself up-to-date – and sitting mind and body for his life's work. Thus he brought air and cheer into the sickroom, and often enough, though not so often as he wished, brought healing. To modify Robert Louis Stevenson to fit Robert Hogarth: –
"He's faulted neither more or less
In his great task of happiness;
He's always moved among his race
And shown a glorious morning face;
So beams from happy human eyes
Have moved him much; and morning skies,
Books, and his work, and summer rain
Ne’er knocked upon his heart in vain."
Hogarth has been honoured by his King, his friends, his fellow citizens, and his peers in his profession. There is a visible evidence of his zealous service to Nottingham in the extensions of her institutions, notably in the Private Block of the General Hospital, and in the Radiotherapeutic Institute which bears his name. He was President of the Hospital he has served so faithfully and well for over half a century. He is past President of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, and is President of the Nottingham Forest Football Club. His year as President of the British Medical Association was a memorable one, and the reprinting of his remarkable presidential address in this book of reminisces will be widely welcomed. Hogarth was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons by the vote of the Fellows in all parts of the world. Thus he received the true reward of the dearly prized, because unpurchasable, acknowledgement of his fellow-craftsman.
As you will gather from this book, Hogarth has had a busy, useful, and a happy life. More no man can expect. A greater blessing the world cannot bestow. On all his journey he has been blessed with the companionship of a wonderful helpmeet. Together they have shared success; and together they have borne trials and sorrows. Thus, Hogarth has the additional joy of being able to echo with a thankful heart.
"Steel-true and blade straight, the great artificer made my mate."