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Biographical entry Smith, Guy Bellingham (1865 - 1949)

MRCS and FRCS 12 June 1890; MB BS London 1888.

Born
28 April 1865
London
Died
14 July 1949
London
Occupation
Obstetrician and gynaecologist

Details

Born in London on 28 April 1865, the eldest child of Henry Smith, colonial broker, and his wife, née Machen. A younger brother, Eric Bellingham Smith, became physician to St George's Hospital and FRCP 1924. He was educated at St Paul's School and University College, London, and entered Guy's Hospital in 1883, contemporarily with Ernest Starling (1866-1927), afterwards professor of physiology at University College, 1899-1923, and FRS. He served Guy's as surgical registrar and ophthalmic assistant and, after a period as resident surgeon at the South-Western Fever Hospital, was elected assistant obstetric surgeon to Guy's in 1903; he became in due course obstetric surgeon, senior obstetric surgeon 1913, and consulting obstetric surgeon on retirement in 1925. He was also surgeon for women's diseases to the North Herts and South Beds Hospital at Hitchin. From 1925 he was a governor of Guy's Hospital Medical School.

Bellingham Smith was an excellent operator, and much preferred surgical gynaecology to obstetrics. He had a very wide practice among the wives and daughters of his colleagues, as his natural kindness and charity of disposition endeared him to all his acquaintances. He succeeded Sir Charters Symonds as president of the old-established "Our Club" at Guy's. He was a very good teacher and a first-rate morbid histologist. While serving as ophthalmic assistant he found himself the victim of an obsessional horror of operating on the eye, which he humorously excused by declaring that histologically the eye-tissue was too minute to be of interest. He made several useful contributions to gynaecology, the most original being his recognition of the association of pyelitis with pregnancy, 1905.

Bellingham Smith married in 1901 Eleanor (Nell) Buxton, who survived him with a son and two daughters, one of whom was a painter, as was one of his own brothers. He himself had considerable artistic taste and knowledge. He died at Yarrow, Felstead, Essex on 19 April 1945, ten days before his eightieth birthday. He had practised at 10 Devonshire Place, W. Mrs Bellingham Smith died on 14 July 1949, aged 81. Bellingham Smith was a keen collector of prints, drawings and paintings, and was a member of the Burlington Fine Arts Club. His great quickness of mind led him at different times to study specialized fields of art, where he rapidly acquired a skilled knowledge of minutiae, which he as quickly laid aside once he had mastered all that there was to know. He thus formed choice collections of old English glass, Japanese sword-hilts, Chinese porcelain, and at one time of Kashmiri postage-stamp issues. Bellingham Smith was beloved by his colleagues, who knew him familiarly as GB, while his students and residents called him "Biff".

Publications:
Association of pyelitis with pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaec Brit Emp 1905, 8, 73. Contributor to W H A Jacobson's The operations of surgery, 2nd edition, London. 1891.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Lancet, 1945, 1, 580, with eulogy by Sir H L Eason, CB, FRCS; Guy's Hosp Gaz 1945, 59. 126, by R Davies-Colley, CMG, FRCS; information from Mrs Bellingham Smith].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England