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Biographical entry Edington, George Henry (1870 - 1943)

MRCS 14 May 1896; FRCS by election 9 April 1931; MB BS Glasgow 1891; MD 1895; DSc 1913; LRCP London 1896; FRFPS 1897; FRS Edinburgh 1942; DL and JP City and County of Glasgow; TD.

10 January 1870
24 September 1943
Anatomist and General surgeon


Born on 10 January 1870 at 14 Buckingham Terrace, Glasgow, W, second child and eldest son of George Brodrick Edington, iron-founder, and Charlotte Jane his wife, daughter of Peter Watt, MD. He was educated at Kelvinside Academy and Glasgow University and at King's College, London. At Glasgow he graduated with commendation in medicine and surgery in 1891, and proceeded MD with commendation in 1895. The following year he took the English conjoint qualification, and was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Faculty at Glasgow in 1897.

Edington held numerous clinical and academic posts at Glasgow. He served as senior demonstrator of anatomy and from 1908 as professor of surgery at Anderson College, and lecturer in anatomy and surgery at the Western Medical School. He was lecturer and assistant to the professor in clinical surgery at the University (Sir Hector Cameron), and also examiner in surgery; was extra surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, and was on the staff of the Western Infirmary, where he was early associated with Sir William Macewen, and became surgeon in 1913 in succession to Sir George Thomas Beatson. In the same year, 1913, he was admitted DSc Glasgow for a thesis on "Congenital occlusion of the oesophagus and lower bowel". He edited the Glasgow medical Journal from 1902 to 1918.

Edington took a very active interest in soldiering, in the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps from 1901 (captain 1904), and in the RAMC(T) from 1908 (major); he was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1912. He served in command of the 1st Lowland field ambulance at Gallipoli in 1915, and was promoted colonel AMS in 1916. He then served as officer commanding the 78th General Hospital at Alexandria, was ADMS to the 52nd (Lowland) Division, and later senior medical officer at a base camp in Palestine. He was subsequently Honorary Colonel, RAMC units attached 52nd Division. During the second world-war he served on the Scottish civil nursing reserve advisory committee and on the Council of the Scottish National Blood-transfusion Association. In 1911 he had commanded the RAMC detachment at the Coronation of King George V.

Edington took a leading part in professional societies in the cultural life of Glasgow. He was a Fellow of the Association of Surgeons and the International Society of Surgery, and a member of the Moynihan Club, at whose gatherings, especially when abroad, his genial humorous spirit was welcome. In 1927-29 he was president of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and from 1928 till 1940 he represented the Faculty on the General Medical Council. From 1930 he was chairman of the executive of the Scottish branch of the British Red Cross Society, of which he was a member of Council. In 1937 he was president of the Royal Medico-chiruigical Society of Glasgow, giving his presidential address on the connexions of embryology with clinical surgery. He improved the Society's house by providing an adequate setting to combine the fire-place from Lister's accident ward in the old Royal Infirmary, presented by J H Teacher, MD, with the plaque of Lister presented by Sir Hector Cameron, FRCP. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1942.

Edington had a large consulting practice. He was an Honorary Physician in Scotland to King George V from 1922 to 1927, and was elected FRCS England as a Member of twenty years' standing in 1931. He was a Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace for the City and County of Glasgow, and was assessor elected by the general council of the university to the University Court. In 1941 he received a rare appointment for a medical man of membership of the Royal Company of Archers, the King's Bodyguard in Scotland. Edington's health began to fail about the age of seventy and he underwent an operation. He died in the Western Infirmary, after suffering a heart attack while fishing, on 24 September 1943. He was never married, but lived with two sisters at 20 Woodside Place, Glasgow, C3. Fishing, travel, poetry, and books had been his chief relaxations.

The soul of a voluntary hospital, 1931.
Chole-fistulo-gastrostomy. Brit J Surg. 1933, 20, 679.
Cysts in hernial sacs. Lancet, 1935, 1, 670.
Embryology and clinical surgery, illustrative examples from the cephalic and caudal ends of the body. (Presidential address.) Trans Roy Med-chir Soc Glasg. 1937, 32, 1.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 27 September 1943, p 6e; Brit med J. 1943, 2, 467 and 529, eulogy by G Grey Turner, FRCS; Lancet, 1943, 2, 494; Glasg med J. 1943, 140, 123; information given by his sister, Mrs Kathleen Erroll, and by Professor Grey Turner].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England