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Biographical entry Smith, Hugh (1864 - 1930)

MRCS 20 October 1886; FRCS 13 June 1889; MB London 1887; MD 1889.

29 July 1864
2 July 1930
Cape Town, South Africa
Dermatologist and Physician


Born in London, 29 July 1864, the third son of Hugh Smith of Darvel, Ayrshire, and younger brother of Sir George Smith, KCMG, Governor of Nyasaland, 1913-23. Hugh Smith was educated at the City of London School and at University College, London. He entered the London Hospital after gaining the entrance scholarship, and won the scholarship for the first and second years' men. He took first-class honours at the MB examination. He served as house physician to Dr Hughlings Jackson, acted as house surgeon, and was resident midwifery assistant. From 1891 to 1900 he practised at Englefield House, Highgate, N, and was assistant medical officer to the General Post Office. He then went into partnership with Sir Alfred Edward Thomson at Cape Town, and a few years later determined to specialize as a consulting physician, being amongst the first to do so in South Africa. He obtained a large consulting practice, which extended throughout the province, and from 1902 to 1919 was honorary physician and consulting dermatologist to the Somerset Hospital. During the war of 1914-18 he acted as consulting physician to the Hospitals at Wynberg and Maitland. For many years he was lecturer on dermatology in the Medical Faculty of the University of Cape Town. He was an active member of the British Medical Association, and was president of the Cape of Good Hope branch in 1914. He was also president of the Medical Congress which met in Cape Town in 1921.

He married in London on 3 June 1920 Francisca Helena Hampson, widow of Captain H T Whybrow, who survived him with two daughters. He died suddenly at his house in Hof Street, Cape Town, on 2 July 1930, and was buried in Maitland cemetery. Mrs Smith married in 1932 G A Daniel-Tyssen (d 1941), a distinguished London solicitor. Hugh Smith was the best type of physician, and did much good in South Africa by his strict observance of ethical rules. Kindly but firm, he dealt successfully with such difficult patients as the old Boer farmers; and General Botha once said of him: "That Dr Smith is different from you doctors; he's not the sort of fellow you can quarrel with."

Cerebral tumour, operation, recovery. Lancet, 1906, 1, 1688.
Intracranial tumour. Ibid 1912, 2, 994.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Cape Argus, 3 July 1930; J med Ass S Afr (BMA) 1930, 4, 396, with portrait; information given by Mrs Hugh Smith].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England