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Biographical entry Hadley, Wilfred James (1862 - 1944)

MRCS 16 November 1883; FRCS 9 June 1887; MB Durham 1886; MD 1893; DPH Cambridge 1892; LRCP 1883; MRCP 1890; FRCP 1899; LSA 1883.

28 March 1862
6 July 1944


Born at Gloucester on 28 March 1862, sixth son of the eight sons and one daughter of Leonard Hadley, flour miller, and Elizabeth Bretherton, his wife. He was educated at Queen's College, Taunton, Newcastle-on-Tyne Medical School, Göttingen University and the London Hospital, which he entered in October 1879. He took first place in the examination for the Durham MB 1886, having qualified with the Conjoint and the LSA in 1883. Though he proceeded to the FRCS in 1887, his bent was towards medicine. He took the MRCP in 1890, won a gold medal at the Durham MD in 1893, and was elected an FRCP in 1899.

Hadley served most of the junior offices at the London Hospital, as house surgeon 1884 to Walter Rivington, house physician 1885 to Sir Andrew Clark, resident accoucheur 1887 under G E Herman, and curator of the museum and medical registrar 1892. He also lectured on medicine, bacteriology, public health, and physiology. He was demonstrator of morbid anatomy and pathological histology 1894-97, and pathologist till 1920, being succeeded by William Bulloch. He was elected assistant physician 1893 on the death of James Anderson, and became physician 1904 and consulting physician 1924. He held similar positions at the London Chest Hospital, Victoria Park, where he was pathologist 1890, assistant physician 1891, physician 1903, and consulting physician 1925. From 1908 to 1912 he was an examiner in medicine for the Conjoint Board. Hadley was commissioned captain à la suite on the staff of the 2nd London General Hospital on 23 December 1908 when the RAMC Territorial Force was formed, and during the war of 1914-18 he served as physician to the Endsleigh Place and Palace Green Hospitals for Officers.

Hadley was an old-fashioned physician of sound common sense and rapid power of summing up a situation. He wrote little, his chief contribution being to the classic work on Fibroid diseases of the lung, in which he collaborated with Sir Andrew Clark, FRCP and Dr Arnold Chaplin, FRCP in 1894. Though he spoke little at the bedside Hadley was a deeply read man of encyclopaedic knowledge, on which he drew fluently in private talk. His laconic obiter dicta, such as "Some get well in spite of vaccines", were treasured by his assistants. As a young man he had been a crack gymnast and footballer, and he kept his interest in games and sports, being a good shot, an enthusiastic fisherman, and a keen player of golf and billiards.

Hadley married in 1897 Joanna Margaret, daughter of H T Wells, RA and widow of Ernest Charrington; there were four daughters and a son of her first marriage, and one daughter of her marriage to Hadley. Mrs Hadley was an MBE; she died before her husband. He was survived by his only child, Margaret Constance Noel Hadley-Jackson, MRCS 1923, wife of Laurence Nelson Jackson, MC, DM, with whom she practised in partnership at Crediton, Devon. Hadley died at Parkside, Reigate, on 6 July 1944 aged 82, and was buried at St Bartholomew's, Leigh, Surrey on 10 July.

Fibroid diseases of the lung, with Sir Andrew Clark and Arnold Chaplin. London, 1894.
Nursing: general, medical, and surgical. London, 1901; 2nd edition, 1907. Diseases of respiratory system, annual surveys for Medical annual 1905-07.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 10 July 1944, p 6e; Lancet, 1944, 2, 162, with eulogies by Lewis Smith, MD and S R Gloyne; Brit med J. 1944, 2, 131; London Hosp Gaz. 1944, 47, 189, eulogy by Dr Lewis Smith, with portrait. Dr L Smith only survived Dr Hadley by a few weeks; Brit J Tuberc. 1944, 37, 145, eulogy by Cecil Wall, MD, FRCP, with portrait; information from his daughter, Mrs Hadley Jackson, MRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England