NOTTINGHAM’S EMINENT SURGEONS AND PHYSICIANS


WILLIAM ROBERT SMITH


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1914 - 1919


William Robert Smith:- The Willows, Beeston, Nottingham. (Smith, Hannon & Cale). Doctor of Medicine, London, 1895; Bachelor of Medicine, 1892; Bachelor of Surgery (Honours) 1894; Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (England), 1896; Member of the Royal College of Surgeons & Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (London) 1892; Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, 1892 (Kings College); Honorary Medical Officer for the Beeston Orphans, and Medical Officer and Public Vaccination Officer for the Beeston and Wollaton District, Basford Poor Union. Surgeon for the Nottingham Hospital for Women and the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell, Nott's. Consultant Surgeon, Military Hospitals, Nottingham. Temporary Assistant Surgeon, Nottingham General Hospital. Chairman of the Nottingham Panel Committee; Certified Factory Surgeon; Surgeon to the Post Office. President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society; Vice President of the Midland and West Countries Obstetric and Gynaecology Society. Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (Member of the Gynaecological Secretariat). Late:- Sambrooke Medical Registrar; House Surgeon and House Physician, Kings College Hospital. House Surgeon, St. Peter's Hospital; Senior House Surgeon, Nottingham General Hospital.


Medical Directory 1919

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Born at Honingham, Norfolk in 1869 he was educated at Bracondale School, Norwich and King’s College Hospital, which he entered with an exhibition, and won prizes and scholarships each year from 1887 to 1890. He qualified with the Conjoint Diploma and the London M.B. in 1892, took the B.S. in 1894, and gained the M.D. in 1895 and the Fellowship in 1896. After servicing as a house surgeon, house physician and medical registrar at King’s he settled in Nottingham where he made his career.


While senior house surgeon at the Nottingham General Hospital he installed the first Xray apparatus in 1896, year  following Roentgen’s discovery. It was installed in a disused bathroom at a cost of £100 paid for by Sir Charles Seely, the chairman of the hospital. Later he introduced electric heating in the Women’s Hospital in place of coal fires previously used, even in the operating theatre



Smith settled in Beeston, near Nottingham in 1898 and was in general practice there for fifty years. He also specialised in midwifery and from 1903 was for thirty years surgeon to the Castle Gate Women’s Hospital, Nottingham. He was also surgeon to the Collins Maternity Hospital and consulting obstetrician to the Nottingham Corporation and the Nottinghamshire County Council


He was President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society from 1914-1919, Vice President of the Section of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Medical Association at its annual meeting in 1920, and Chairman of the Nottingham Division of the B. M. A., 1928-1929. He retired from hospital work in 1933 but continued his private practice till 1947. In the early days of practice he made his rounds with a pony and trap, but bought a motorcar in 1906 which he drove for 100,000 miles before changing to a new one. However he continued to make his evening visits on a bicycle till 1947.


Smith was a handsome man with a bustling walk, and smiling eyes and mouth which endeared him to all his patients. When he retired they gave him a handsome present which he spent on a tour of South Africa. He then settled in Sheringham, Norfolk living with a nephew and enjoying golf, bridge and gardening.


He was active an active Mason, and kept up life long friendships, among others with his contemporaries from medical school P. T.  Beal F.R.C.S., whose father had been senior physician at King’s and John Wood M.R.C.S., son of the senior surgeon. Smith died on 6th February 1966 aged 96 years.


From the Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons

SURGEONS Nottinghams Eminent Surgeons and Physicians