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Biographical entry Evans, Willmott Henderson (1859 - 1938)

MRCS 25 July 1883; FRCS 11 December 1890; BSc London 1880; MB BS 1885; MD 1887: LSA 1883.

23 August 1859
7 September 1938
Sidcup, Kent
Dermatologist and General surgeon


Born at 2 Beech Street, Barbican, London, EC, on 23 August 1859, third son of Evan Evans, MD, and Elizabeth Ann Tuke his wife. His father was appointed surgeon in the Royal Navy in 1842, and on his retirement settled in general practice in Cripplegate. His great grandfather had been surgeon to the French prisoners at Plymouth Dock during the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the nineteenth century. His mother was a member of the Tuke family, who were well known as alienists.

W H Evans was educated at University College School, at University College, and at University College Hospital. He graduated with honours at London University in 1885, and was appointed resident medical officer at the Royal Free Hospital in Gray's Inn Road in 1889. He was in succession surgical registrar 1891-95; casualty officer 1893; assistant surgeon 1903-19; lecturer on surgery 1912-19; and consulting surgeon 1919-38. During part of the time he acted as surgeon in charge of the department for the treatment of diseases of the skin. From 1909 to 1933 he was surgeon to the Blackfriars Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, and during the war of 1914-18 he was surgeon to King George's Hospital and to the officers' ward at the Royal Free Hospital.

In 1907 he delivered the Erasmus Wilson lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, taking as his subject "Leucoderma and analogous changes in the pigmentation of the skin". He restricted himself to the aetiology of the disease, attributing it to a toxin derived from the alimentary canal assisted by local injury and the action of light, the more general view being that it was of neurotic origin.

He married on 17 July 1895 Ann Frances, daughter of the Rev G Piercy, a pioneer Methodist missionary of Canton, China. She, herself a graduate in medicine, survived him with three sons and two daughters, and died on 6 March 1940. Evans died at Cranford, Sidcup, Kent, on 7 September 1938. He was a man of encyclopaedic knowledge, a good linguist, an excellent teacher of students, and an ardent advocate for the admission of women to the medical profession.

The diseases of the skin. London, 1913.
Diseases of the breast. London, 1923. A lavishly illustrated handbook.
The prevention of disease. Translation of Nobiling and Jankau's Handbuch der Prophylaxe, 1900-01. London, 1902.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 9 September 1938, p 14e; Lancet, 1938, 2, 701, with portrait, a good likeness; Brit med J. 1938, 2, 640; information given by Mrs Piercy Evans].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England