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Biographical entry Kelson, William Henry (1862 - 1940)

MRCS 30 January 1885; FRCS 14 December 1893; MB London 1889; MD 1890; BS 1893; LSA 1883; DPH Cambridge 1891.

15 August 1862
24 January 1940
Virginia Water, Surrey
ENT surgeon


Born in London 15 August 1862, the second child and eldest son of Harry Kelson, shipbuilder, and Emily Cumming his wife. He was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk. He then proceeded to the London Hospital, where he was Lethaby scholar and filled the offices of house physician, clinical surgeon, ophthalmic and aural assistant. For a time he was house surgeon to Queen Adelaide's Dispensary in Bethnal Green and house surgeon in charge of the throat, nose, and ear department at the City of London Dispensary. He became interested in psychiatry, but determined in the end to devote himself to the treatment of diseases of the throat, nose, and ear. He lectured at the London Policlinic, which was under the guidance of Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, on diseases of the ear, and became aural surgeon to the London Sunday School Choir. He was elected surgeon and pathologist to the London Throat Hospital in Great Portland Street, W, where he had as his colleagues E B Waggett, C E Woakes, F F Muecke, Irwin Moore; Somerville Hastings, and George C Cathcart. The hospital was closed in 1916 on its amalgamation with the Throat Hospital in Golden Square. Kelson was chosen a member of the staff of the combined hospital, served as one of the surgeons, and became consulting surgeon in 1922. At the Royal Society of Medicine he was secretary and afterwards president of the section of laryngology and a vice-president of the otological section; at the Hunterian Society he was president in 1915, when he gave an address "On throat, nose, and ear diseases and their treatment in John Hunter's time". He married Hilda Frances Lane; she survived him, but there were no children. He died on 24 January 1940 at St Ann's Heath, Virginia Water, Surrey.

Diseases of the Throat, Nose, and Ear. London, 1915.
The address delivered on 27 October 1915, as president of the Hunterian Society, appeared in abstract in the Journal of Laryngology 1916, 31, 1-4.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1940, 1, 244; Brit med J 1940, 1, 237; information given by Mrs Kelson and by Lionel Colledge, FRCS].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England