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Biographical entry Wynter, Walter Essex (1860 - 1945)

MRCS 26 January 1883; FRCS 11 June 1885; MB BS London 1887; MD 1888; LRCP 1883; MRCP 1889; FRCP 1897.

5 May 1860
4 January 1945


Born on 5 May 1860, eldest son of Andrew Wynter, MD St Andrews 1853, and Mary Bramhall, his wife. His father was in general practice at Chiswick and Brompton; from 1855 to 1861 he was editor of the British Medical Journal; he died on 12 May 1876, aged 56. Walter Wynter's brother Andrew, MRCS 1888, MD Bruxelles 1890, practised at Clifton, Bristol. Wynter was educated at Epsom College, at the Middlesex Hospital, which he entered as a scholar in 1878, at St Bartholomew's, and at Freiburg. He took the Fellowship in 1885 two years after qualifying, but while he retained an active interest in surgery throughout his life he devoted himself primarily to the career of a physician. He took the London MD in 1888 and the MRCP in 1889, and was elected FRCP in 1897. He was appointed to the medical side of the honorary staff at the Middlesex Hospital, serving as assistant physician 1891, physician 1901 and lecturer in medicine, senior physician, and ultimately consulting physician 1925. After his retirement he took an active interest in the work of the Newbury District Hospital near his home and was appointed consulting physician to it. He examined in pharmacology and medicine for the Conjoint Board 1901-09, and was a councillor of the Royal College of Physicians 1917-19. He also served on the council of Epsom College, to which with his brother Dr Andrew Wynter he was a generous benefactor. During the first world war he served at the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth, with a commission as major, RAMC (T), attached 2nd London Division, dated 21 February 1912. He attended this hospital in the mornings, the Middlesex in the afternoons, and the Royal Free in the evenings.

Wynter married in October 1895 Ada Margaret, daughter of Samuel Wills, JP, of Bristol, but they had no children. Mrs Wynter died in 1937 and Wynter on 4 January 1945 at Newbury, aged 84, and was buried at St John's, Newbury. Possessed of ample means and lacking ambition, Wynter withdrew from London in 1925 and devoted himself to the restoration of Bartholomew Manor, Newbury, Berkshire, a fourteenth-century house on the outskirts of the town, which he found in a state of semi-dereliction. He was, too, a keen gardener with a taste for experiment; he smoked his own tobacco and brewed his own mead. For fifteen years he was an invalid, and at the age of seventy underwent amputation of his leg above the knee. Wynter left all his real estate at Newbury to the Middlesex Hospital as a home for retired or convalescent nurses, with his furniture and an endowment of £7,500. He had already in 1925 and subsequent years restored Jemmett's Almshouse near Bartholomew Manor, renaming it Bartholomew Close, and equipped and endowed several neighbouring cottages for the free use of twenty-four retired "Middlesex" nurses (Brit med J 1938, 1, 403, with illustration). He was before his illness strong, sturdy, rubicund, and energetic. His chief recreations were travel and fishing, and he was a skilful chess-player. Wynter liked to watch the operations which his surgical colleagues performed on patients from his medical wards, and was particularly happy in his long relationship with Sir John Bland-Sutton. It was at his suggestion that Bland- Sutton first performed splenectomy in a case of alcoholic jaundice (Proc Roy Soc Med 1914, 7, Clinical section, p 82), and Bland-Sutton and G Gordon-Taylor also removed spleens on his advice with successful results in cases of pernicious anaemia, in the days before the introduction of liver therapy. Wynter also suggested the value of lumbar puncture, on physiological grounds, before it was introduced by Heinrich Quincke in 1891. He was possessed of remarkable diagnostic acumen.

A manual of clinical and practical pathology, with F J Wethered. London, Churchill, 1890.
Four cases of tubercular meningitis, in which paracentesis of the theca vertebralis was performed for the relief of fluid pressure. Lancet, 1891, 1, 981.
Minor medicine, London, 1907, compiled from papers originally published in Archives of the Middlesex Hospital.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 6 January 1945, p 6d, and 9 January p 7e, appreciation by Surgeon Rear-Admiral Gordon Gordon-Taylor, CB, FRCS, and 1 November 1945, will; Lancet, 1945, 1, 100, with eulogy by R A Young, FRCP; Brit med J 1945, 1, 100, with Gordon-Taylor's appreciation, and 1945, 2, 815, will; Middx Hosp J 1945, 45, 10, and 1951, 51, 147, his paper on lumbar puncture, reprinted; further information from his niece, Miss Lilian M Yebbison].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England