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Biographical entry Wilson, Thomas (1861 - 1950)

MRCS 19 April 1883; FRCS 14 December 1893; MB BS London 1883; MD 1885; ChM Birmingham 1904.

8 May 1861
Cumnock, Ayrshire
23 March 1950
General surgeon and Gynaecologist


Born on 8 May 1861 at Cumnock, Ayrshire, the eldest child and only son of James Wilson, post office mail contractor, and his wife Agnes Vallance. He was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School, University College, London, which he entered in 1878, and University College Hospital. He was a contemporary and friend of Harry Littlewood, who became a surgeon at Leeds. Wilson won medals in pathology and hygiene, and qualified in 1883; he took the London MD in 1885. He had completed his midwifery courses at the Rotunda in Dublin, and was a resident at the Royal Eye Hospital. From 1886 to 1888 he was resident medical officer at the National Hospital, Queen Square, serving under such famous men as Sir David Ferrier, Hughlings Jackson, and Sir Victor Horsley. Then after a year as a ship's surgeon in the Peninsular and Oriental Line, he settled in general practice at Cannock, Staffordshire. Here he married Miss Loxton, who died in 1947 after nearly sixty years of married life; they had no children.

Wilson now determined to specialize in gynaecology and in 1890 was appointed gynaecological surgeon to the Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire General Hospital. Three years later, in 1893, he became assistant obstetric officer at Birmingham General Hospital, and took the Fellowship at the end of the year. He became gynaecological surgeon there in 1903, and consulting gynaecological surgeon on his retirement in 1922. He was also gynaecological consultant to hospitals at West Bromwich, Sutton Coldfield, Nuneaton, and Dudley, and to the Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham. Wilson became surgeon to the Birmingham Lying-in Charity in 1895, and by his efforts developed it to become the Birmingham Maternity Hospital in 1907. For many years he had a nursing-home at 87 Cornwall Street, Birmingham in partnership with Sir Gilbert Barling. He held the rank of captain, RAMC.

At Mason College (Birmingham University) Wilson was lecturer and examiner in midwifery and gynaecology. He was appointed professor of midwifery and the diseases of women by the University in 1912, and was made emeritus professor on his resignation in 1924. Although a professor and an FRCS he always preferred to be called Dr Wilson. He retired in 1927 to Braeside, Wyche Road, Malvern, where Mrs Wilson died in 1947. He died there on 23 March 1950, aged 88.

Wilson succeeded to the great tradition of gynaecological surgery built up at Birmingham by Lawson Tait and Edward Makins, and was himself succeeded by the brilliant Beckwith Whitehouse, whom he outlived. He made valuable contributions to the operative treatment of malignant disease of the uterus, and in 1906 delivered the Ingleby lectures on pelvic inflammation in the female. His sturdy physique and good looks were matched by strength of character and balanced intelligence. His outlook was keenly progressive and pioneering, and his clinical work careful and sound. Wilson never cared for sports or games. He was a learned geologist and a skilled gardener.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1950, 1, 908, by H W F, with portrait, and 1951, 1, 486, will; Lancet, 1950, 1, 789; information from his sister, Miss Marion Wilson].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England