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Biographical entry White, Clifford Sidney (1881 - 1957)

MRCS 28 July 1904; FRCS 10 June 1909; MB BS 1904; MD London 1906; LRCP 1904; FRCP 1924; FRCOG 1929.

24 October 1957
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Born in 1881 second son of Charles Stewart White of Hampstead, he was educated at University College and after qualification held various posts at University College Hospital, was resident medical officer at Queen Charlotte's Hospital (1907), and at the Samaritan Hospital for Women was house surgeon, then registrar and assistant to Cuthbert Lockyer, and in due time senior surgeon, a post he held until retirement. On the outbreak of war in 1914 he went to the Belgian Army Hospital at La Panne where he dealt with many head injuries and became a competent cerebral surgeon. From 1912 to 1923 he was surgeon at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, became interested in abnormal uterine action and published a paper "The contraction ring as a cause of dystocia" which clarified the difference between the contraction and retraction ring of the uterus.

On the retirement of Sir George Blacker in 1925 Clifford White was elected to the staff of University College Hospital, where an obstetric unit was set up in 1926. He also served the Metropolitan Hospital, St Mary's Hospital for Women, Plaistow, and the North Hertfordshire and South Bedfordshire Hospital. He was President of the obstetrics section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1936. From 1938 to 1942 he was an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and a councillor from 1940 to 1942, and also examined for many universities.

Clifford White was a splendid teacher and popular with his students. He loved social life, and in his youth had been a good dancer, swimmer, skier, and tennis player. He married in 1911 Elaine Mawe of Charterstowers, Queensland and later they both travelled widely. He was a man of fine character, considerate and generous, though he could be dogmatic and obstinate. He was elected a Fellow of University College in 1938.

White lived at 48 Circus Road, St John's Wood, and died in University College Hospital on 24 October 1957 aged 76, survived by his wife, son and daughter. Mrs White died on 18 September 1965.

He was editor and a joint author of the popular "Ten Teachers" textbooks: Midwifery 1917 (8th edition 1948) and Diseases of Women 1919 (7th edition 1942).

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 26 October 1957 p 8 g; Brit med J. 1957, 2, 1053-1054 with appreciations by JDSF and V B Green-Armitage, 1183 by A W Bourne, and 1958, 1, 109 by Professor F J Browne of Sydney; Lancet 1957, 2, 899 with portrait and appreciations by LW and V B Green-Armitage].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England