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Biographical entry Hedley, John Prescott (1876 - 1957)

MRCS 13 December 1906; FRCS 9 December 1909; BA Cambridge 1898; MA BCh 1902; MB 1903; MCh 1910; LRCP 1906; MRCP 1907; FRCP 1921; FRCOG foundation 1929; Hon MMSA 1939.

20 January 1876
17 July 1957
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born on 20 January 1876 the second son of John Hedley MD, JP of Middlesbrough and his wife née Williams, he was educated at Uppingham and at King's College, Cambridge, where he took second-class honours in the Natural Sciences Tripos, part I, 1898. His elder brother Edward, afterwards anaesthetist to St Thomas's Hospital, had preceded him there and three younger brothers followed him; his sister May married W D Harmer FRCS, a member of another King's family. He had his clinical training at St Thomas's, where after qualification he held house appointments and also worked at the Brompton Hospital. His connection with St Thomas's was life-long: he was resident medical officer 1905-06, and obstetric tutor and registrar 1907-10. He was appointed assistant obstetric physician in 1910, obstetric physician in 1919, and he succeeded J S Fairbairn as head of the department in 1928; he became consulting obstetric physician on his retirement in 1936. His services were retained for the Hospital by his election to the Council of the medical school and as a Governor of the Hospital.

He was consulting gynaecologist to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, Queen Square, and physician to the General Lying-In Hospital, York Road, Lambeth. He was also honorary gynaecologist to the Florence Nightingale Hospital, the Harrow Hospital, and the cottage hospitals at Cobham and Oxted, Surrey, near his successive country homes.

During the war of 1914-18 he served in the RAMC with the rank of Captain, first at the Duchess of Westminster's hospital at Le Touquet, and later at the 5th London General Hospital in St Thomas's. He was subsequently gynaecologist to the Ministry of Pensions.

Hedley was active in medical education, examining for Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities, for the Conjoint Board, the Central Midwives Board of which he was vice-chairman 1946-52, and the Society of Apothecaries, which gave him an honorary Mastership in Midwifery and of which he became Master in 1944-45. He also served on the General Medical Council 1939-57, and was vice-chairman of the Medical Protection Society.

Hedley was a Fellow of each of the three Royal Colleges, and was honorary treasurer of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 1939 to 1945. He served on the Council of the Royal College of Physicians in 1932-34.

Hedley married in 1907 Kathleen daughter of James Halliday of Harrow. There were five sons and a daughter of their marriage. Mrs Hedley died at Hambledon House, Hambledon, Surrey on 3 June 1945. Hedley had practised at 65 Harley Street, and enjoyed country pursuits at the weekends. After his wife's death he lived at 16 Pall Mall and spent much time in the Athenaeum, where he was a popular member. "Jock" Hedley was a quiet, friendly man of sound judgment and level-headed common-sense. He was a keen cricket player, and for seventeen years was president of the St Thomas's Cricket Club. He was young-looking and active to within a very short time of his death at the age of 81, which occurred in St Thomas's Hospital on 17 July 1957.

Haematoma of the ovary. J Obstet Gynaec Brit Emp 1910, 18, 293.
Occlusion of the lower part of the vagina, with absence of the uterus. J Obstet Gynaec Brit Emp 1911, 20, 186.
Two cases of complete chronic inversion of the uterus. J Obstet Gynaec Brit Emp 1915, 27, 8.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 18 July 1957, p 15 f; Lancet 1957, 2, 197 with portrait, and appreciations by ERC and AJW; Brit med J 1957, 2, 238 with portrait, and appreciation by KB; J Obstet Gynaec Brit Emp 1957, 64, 769 by Arthur J Wrigley, with a good portrait; King's Coll Camb Ann Rept 1957, pp 30-31; St Thos Hos Gaz 1957, 55, 121 with a good portrait; information from his daughter Mrs Stent].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England