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Biographical entry Lake, Richard (1861 - 1949)

MRCS 29 January 1885; FRCS 12 June 1890; LRCP 1885; LSA 1887.

14 December 1861
1 November 1949
ENT surgeon


Born 14 December 1861, second son of Thomas Lake of Cheekes Court, Sittingbourne, Kent, farmer, and Mary Wildash, his wife. He was educated at Trent College, at Bonn in Germany, and at Thomas's Hospital. Immediately after he had qualified in 1885 he went under the National Aid Society, the forerunner of the British Red Cross, to the Sudan campaign, for which he was awarded the medal, clasp, and star. The next year, 1886, he served similarly in the Servo-Bulgar war, and was decorated by both sides, with the Bulgarian Red Cross Order and the Servian Order of St Sava (medal of the fourth class). On his return to England he became medical officer, with the rank of captain, to the 2nd Middlesex Volunteer Artillery.

Lake specialized in the surgery of the ear, nose, and throat, and took the Fellowship in 1890. He was surgeon-laryngologist to the Mount Vernon Hospital for Consumption 1897-1904, and to the Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich. He lectured on the practice of otology at the Medical Graduates' College and the London School of Clinical Medicine and he was from 1924 to 1928 Geoffrey E Duveen lecturer on otology in the University of London. During the war of 1914-18 he was aural surgeon to the Royal Flying Corps Hospital and to Princess Christian's and Robert Lindsay's hospitals for officers. His principal appointment was as surgeon 1898-1926, and thereafter consulting surgeon, to Royal Ear Hospital, the ear-nose-and-throat department of University College Hospital. For many years his private practice was probably the leading one of his specialty. His Handbook of diseases of the ear was also very successful. He was president of the West London Medico-Chirurgic a Society 1907-08, and of the otological section of the Royal Society of Medicine 1913-14. He was very successful in re-educating deaf children to hearing.

Lake was a keen fisherman, and had a country house at Easterton, near Devizes. Later he moved to The Rise, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. His knowledge of trout and salmon was profound, and he wrote interestingly on fishing. He married twice: (1) Mildred, daughter of Justinian Pelly, by whom he had a daughter; (2) in 1918 Ellen, daughter of George Sapsworth of Steyning, who survived him. Lake died in a nursing home at Bristol on 1 November 1949, aged 87.

Laryngeal phthisis or consumption of the throat. London, 1901; Laryngeal phthisis or tubercular laryngitis, 2nd edition by Harold Barwell, 1905.
Handbook of diseases of the ear. London, 1903; 2nd edition, 1904; 3rd edition, 1910; 4th edition, 1912; 5th edition by E A Peters, 1927.
Otitic cerebellar abscess, translated from the German of H Neumann. London, 1909.
Contributions to the art and science of otology, papers 1892-1925. London, 1926. Fishing memories. London, 1934.
Journal of Laryngology, edited, 10-17, 1896-1902.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 5 November 1949, p 7e; Lancet, 1949, 2, 921, with eulogies by a former patient and by G E D; Brit med J 1949, 2, 1117; information from Mrs Lake].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England