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ROBERT GEORGE HOGARTH


(1868 - 1953)


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1913

Robert George Hogarth:- 60, The Ropewalk, Nottingham. F.R.C.S. England; 1894 M. 1891; L.R.C.P., London, 1891 (St. Bartholomew’s); Surgeon, Children’s Hospital, Nottingham; Surgeon, General Hospital, Nottingham; Consultant Surgeon, Grindley Convalescent Home; Surgeon, Nottingham and Nott’s Sanatorium; Medical Referee Workmen's Compensations Act; President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. Member of the British Medical Association. Late, Surgeon Samaritan Hospital for Women. Senior Resident Medical Officer, General Hospital, Nottingham & House Surgeon, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.


Medical Directory 1915


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Robert George Hogarth (1868 - 1953). C.B.E. 1918; M.R.C.S. 30 July 1891; F.R.C.S. 14 June 1894; Hon. LL.D., Edinburgh 1927; J.P., D.L. Co Nottingham 1948.


Robert George Hogarth was a Scotsman, native of the Border County of Berwickshire, and was born on May 15th, 1868. He was educated at Felstead School, and went on for his medical training to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, qualifying in 1891. After holding various resident appointments at St. Bartholomew’s and a post as house-surgeon in Wolverhampton, he went to Nottingham as senior resident medical officer at the Nottingham General Hospital in 1894. In the same year he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He quickly won recognition in the East Midlands as a cultured and skillful surgeon. He started private practice at a house in the Ropewalk, Nottingham, and throughout his career he continued to serve the General Hospital successively as assistant surgeon, and senior surgeon. His interest in the hospital was not only in its medical service but in its administration. He was also the B.M.A’s vice-chairman and the moving spirit in the building and equipment of the Nottingham General Hospital’s Pay-Bed Wing. He also advocated the setting up of such a department in all large hospitals. Nottingham did not move in the matter as quickly as some other cities, but he succeeded eventually in convincing all concerned of the value of the project and did a deal towards raising the money. He was also honorary surgeon to the Samaritan Hospital for Women and the Children’s Hospital, and consulting surgeon to the Gringley Convalescent Home. He was associated with the British Empire Cancer Campaign, a member of its Grand Council, and chairman of the Nottingham Branch. It was largely due to his efforts that a Radiotherapy Department was established here in Nottingham which today is regarded as one of the best in the country. In 1948 the centre was renamed “The Hogarth Radiotheraputic Centre” by the Duke of Portland in recognition of his services. Finally he was a member of the Council and of the disciplinary committee of the Royal College of Surgeons.


Before he came to the presidency of the British Medical Association he was chairman of the Nottingham Division and in the same year president of the Midland Branch. He served for three years on the Central Council, and in recognition of his services was elected a Vice President. After his tenure of office he rendered some valuable assistance to the Association in the conference concerning patients which was set up in 1931-2. He was a past president of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Association of Surgeon of Great Britain. He contributed from time to time papers to the medical journals, his first, apparently, being a paper in the Journal on “The Treatment of Cut Throat,” written at the time when he was resident medical officer at the Nottingham General Hospital. In 1948 he published a book of memories entitled The Trent and I Go Wandering By. For his work as consulting surgeon to the military hospitals in the Nottingham district in the 1914-18 war the C.B.E. was conferred upon him in 1918. In 1927 he was made Hon. LL.D. of the University of Edinburgh, being presented as one who had “long held a very high place in the realms of surgery.” He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Nottingham in 1948.


In his younger days Hogarth was a great sportsman. He played football with some famous teams, including the Corinthians and the London Caledonians, and occasionally he played for Wolverhampton Wanderers. He was also at one time a noted sprinter and jumper, winning the amateur long-jump championship of Britain in 1890. His interest in football and cricket continued until the end of his life. He had been president of the Nottingham Forest Football Club and of the Nottinghamshire Cricket Club.


In 1897 he married a Nottingham lady, Miss Mabel Winifred Lynam, by whom he had one son who died on active service in Italy as a Major in the Grenadier Guards on the 19th July, 1944. His wife was to die a year before him in 1952 after 55 years of marriage. In an obituary to Mr. Hogarth it said:- The celebration of their golden wedding anniversary at their home, still in the Ropewalk, evoked many manifestations of affection and esteem. Hogarth died on the on the 29th June, 1952.


In the opening of the same obituary in the British Medical Journal for July of that year it said:- Mr. R. G. Hogarth, was the oldest of the British Medical Association’s Past Presidents. When the Association, after more than a third of a century, returned to Nottingham for its Annual Meeting in 1926 Mr. Hogarth was nominated unanimously by his colleagues in the Nottingham Division for the presidential office.


In a personal tribute to Mr. R. G. Hogarth, Dr. J. Wilkie Scott said of him:- Mr. R. G. Hogarth at the time of his death was the doyen of the medical profession in Nottingham. The subject of his address to the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society on the 5th November, 1913 was “Notable Doctors of Nottinghamshire.” Many famous names were included; in any such roll on the future his own will assuredly be given high place.


His career in Nottinghamshire was an outstanding one, and of no one could be more truly that he had the ball at his feet from the start. He was accustomed to say that he owed his appointments as house physician and house surgeon at St. Bartholomew’s to his prowess for the hospital at football, cricket, and athletics. Probably there were more weighty reasons and it may just have been his way of speaking, for Hogarth was ever aware that bare facts were made more piquant by the addition of a little flavour. He certainly had a brilliant record as an athlete. In his last year at Felsted he won the 100 and 220 yard, the quarter mile, and the long and high jumps. At Bart’s he was captain of the cricket and football teams and also of United Hospitals; and he played for various first class football clubs. The trophy he prized the most was the medal awarded him for the open amateur long jump in 1890. During a boyhood spent in the Border Country he acquired proficiency in fishing and shooting, and he retained a love of these throughout his life.


Despite his love of and skill at sports Hogarth was never deflected from his ambition to attain success in life and in surgery in particular. Indeed, his proficiency on the field of sport helped him on his way, bringing him hosts of friends and even to some extent shaping his future. His appointments as surgeon to the Nottingham Forest and Nott’s County Football Clubs led him to take an increasing interest in the treatment of injuries, fractures and joint affections, and his services were often required for accidents in the hunting field. He was largely concerned with the inauguration of the Cripples’ Guild, from which emerged the now well known Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital.


Success came to him quickly. His reputation as a skillful operator and as one having cautious and careful judgment spread, and before long he had a magnificent surgical practice. In his presidential address to the British Medical Association in 1926 on “The Medical Practitioner and the Public” he showed remarkable foresight of the shape of things to come. He took the opportunity to advocate such measures as the provision of wards for paying patients and the extension of contributory schemes to meet the rising costs of hospitals and so possibly enable them to be preserved on a voluntary basis. It was only after the lapse of some years and in the face of opposition that these projects were achieved in the county. He had the rare honour for a provincial surgeon not attached to a teaching hospital of being elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Other distinctions came his way, and he was frankly appreciative of them. In his book of reminiscences, written in unpretentious vein, he looks back upon a life of very varied interests, and pays tribute to many who were his friends and helped him on his way. It seems strange that one of his greatest friends, from whom he derived much inspiration Victor Bonney, should have died within a few days of him.


Hogarth - Bob to his friends - was a very human, genial person, with much charm of manner. There was nothing in the least degree thrustful in his demeanour. In conversation he was deprecatory of himself - and he was usually the centre of attention in any gathering, even in the presence of more celebrated people. He appeared frequently in the law courts, where he was much in demand in cases arising under the Workmen’s Compensation Acts, and was a very able and wily witness. He had a disarming way of belittling his own knowledge and seeming to agree with the opposition, except, perhaps over just one point, which was often a crucial one. He had always been rather occupied with his health, and for years before this really did decline he was a confirmed and self confessed valetudinarian, but, as his complaints were interspersed with his natural drolleries he was never a bore. His final illness was a protracted and a trying one. He was bedridden for over 18 months and it was a relief when the release, for which he longed, came peacefully at the end.


B.M.J., July 14th, 1953, page 47/8 & July 25th, 1953, page 228.


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