Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Hughes, Alfred William ( - 1900)

MRCS July 23rd 1885; FRCS July 11th 1891; MB CM Edin 1885; FRCS Edin 1889.

Fronwen, Merionethshire, UK
3 November 1900
General surgeon


Born at Fronwen, Merionethshire, the son of Robert Hughes, of that place; he was educated at Edinburgh, where he gained the Medal in Anatomy, and was Demonstrator of Anatomy, Histology, and Physiology. Later he studied in London and Leipzig. After graduation he commenced general practice at Flint for two years, during which he ably countered an epidemic of typhoid fever. He next returned to Edinburgh as Senior Demonstrator and Lecturer on Anatomy, at the same time engaging in an anatomical research on the rotatory movement of the vertebrae and in a number of other observations. The result was his election to the Chair of Anatomy at the formation of University College, Cardiff, in 1893. He brought with him a large private collection of anatomical preparations, and worked successfully for four years. In 1897 he was elected Professor of Anatomy at King's College, London, in succession to Dr John Curnow; he acted as Dean of the Medical School in succession to Sir Hugh Beevor, Bart, and served effectively on Committees relating to the University of London, representing the interest of King's College at a crisis in its career.

On the outbreak of the Boer War Professor Hughes, as a patriotic Welshman, raised a fund for a Welsh Military Hospital, assisted by Mrs Hughes and a committee of ladies. As the brilliant Organizing Secretary of the Welsh Hospital for South Africa the memory of Hughes has been perpetuated in the Principality. Over £12,000 having been collected, a duly equipped hospital was sent out in April, 1900, with a staff from among Hughes's colleagues and students. It arrived at Springfontein on July 4th. On the death of Tom Jones (qv), who had been in charge, Hughes undertook the duty of Chief Superintendent of the hospital, and at the request of Lord Roberts moved forwards to Pretoria. He left South Africa on board the Saxon after four months' service, and developed enteric fever during the voyage. On arrival at Southampton on Oct 19th he was moved to London to be under the care of Sir Nestor Tirard, but he died about the twenty-eighth day of the fever, on Nov 3rd, 1900. His body was taken to Machynlleth and placed in Corris Church. At the funeral there was a large and representative attendance of colleagues from King's College and others. A memorial was erected to Hughes with inscriptions in Welsh and English on the mountain side at Corris.

Manual of Surgical Anatomy, 1890.
Nerves of the Human Body, 1890.
Manual of Practical Anatomy, completed by SIR ARTHUR KEITH, 1901-2.
"Rotatory Movement of the Human Vertebral Column." - Arch f Anat u Physiol, 1892, Anat Abt 265.
"The Etiology of Varicose Veins." - Brit Med Jour, 1887, ii, 122.
"The Central Nervous System and Axial Skeleton in Anencephalous Monsters." - Lancet, 1887, ii, 1212.
"Abnormal Arrangement of Arteries in the Region of the Kidney and Suprarenal Body." - Jour of Anat and Physiol, 1892, xxvi, 305.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Among writers of obituary notices were Professor Halliburton, Dr Raymond Crawfurd, Dr Forbes Ross, and Sir John Lynn Thomas. Lancet, 1900, ii, 1154, 1162, 1303, 1371, 1448, 1687].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England