Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Gilford, Hastings (1861 - 1941)

MRCS 10 November 1887; FRCS 13 June 1889; LRCP 1887.

2 July 1861
Melton Mowbray
6 September 1941
General surgeon


Born at Melton Mowbray on 2 July 1861, son of William Gilford an estate developer, and his wife, née Lott. He was educated privately and at Guy's Hospital. After serving as clinical assistant at the Evelina Hospital for Sick Children, he settled at Reading in 1887, becoming surgeon and eventually consulting surgeon to the Reading Dispensary. During the war of 1914-18 he was surgeon-in-charge of the Sutherland War Hospital and Hospital for Pensioners. He lived at Norwood House King's Road and later at 47 Cressingham Road, Reading. He was elected a vice-president of the Reading Pathological Society on 2 July 1908 and was a keen member of the British Medical Association; between 1901 and 1904 he contributed six papers to the surgical section at Association's annual meetings.

Gilford took a deep interest in the aetiology of cancer. Refusing to consider any experimental research, he relied on clinical and post-mortem observations in his study of the origin of tumours and published his conclusions in a series of monographs. He assumed that in modern civilization man's sentimental psychology induces biological degeneration, and that the consequent degradation of cell-structure leads to a preca-ncerous state, from which cells either die out or under certain stimuli begin the abnormal proliferation of cancer. He published popular accounts of his views under the name of "John Cope".

Gilford married in 1889 Lilian Adele Hope, and was survived by two sons and two daughters. He died on 6 September 1941.


On a condition of mixed premature and immature development. Med Chir Trans 1897, 80, 17.
Ateleiosis, a disease characterized by conspicuous delay of growth and develop¬ment. Ibid 1902, 85, 305.
Ateleiosis and progeria, continuous youth and premature old age. Brit med J 1904, 2, 914.
Progeria, a form of senilism. Practitioner, 1904, 73, 188.
The disorders of post-natal growth and development. London, Adlard, 1911.
Infantilism, Hunterian lectures, RCS Lancet, 1914, 1, 587; 664; 861.
Tumours and cancers: a biological study London, Selwyn and Blount, 1925.
Cancer, civilization, degeneration. London, Lewis, 1932.
The cancer problem and its solution. London, Lewis, 1934.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J1941, 2, 424; Lancet, 1941, 2, 546, with portrait; information given by his brother, Sidney Gilford, MB JP].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England