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Biographical entry Goulden, Charles Bernard (1879 - 1953)

OBE 1919; MRCS 4 August 1903; FRCS 8 December 1904; BA Cambridge 1900; MA MB BCh 1904;MCh 1905; MD 1914.

20 August 1879
20 September 1953
Ophthalmic surgeon


Born at Ashford on 20 August 1879, eldest son of H J Goulden, a publisher and bookseller of Canterbury, and his wife Isabel Wind, he was educated at St Edmund's College, Ware, and at Downing College, Cambridge where his interests, which had been limited to music, broadened. Graduating in 1900, he continued his medical studies at the Middlesex Hospital where he won the Freeman Scholarship and the Leopold Hudson Exhibition.

Goulden was a house surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital in 1903-04 and at Moorfields in 1904-07, but he could not afford the years of waiting for a senior post in London so he went to University College, Bristol, where he was a demonstrator in anatomy in 1907-08, and in 1909 he was appointed ophthalmic surgeon to the Royal Infirmary, Oldham.

In 1916 he left Oldham to serve in the RAMC and became Sir William Lister's right hand man in Boulogne. Later he was in charge of an ophthalmic centre in Rouen and for his work there was mentioned in dispatches and appointed OBE in 1919. His exceptional abilities were noted during the war and on demobilisation Goulden was offered a post as assistant surgeon at Moorfields and the London Hospital. In 1920 he was appointed lecturer in ophthalmology at the London Hospital Medical School and the following year ophthalmic surgeon at the London. Shortly afterwards he joined the staff of the Victoria Hospital for Children Chelsea, and in 1928 was elected Dean of the Medical School at Moorfields, a post he held for ten years.

In due course he became consulting ophthalmic surgeon to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, St Vincent's Orthopaedic Hospital at Eastcote in Middlesex, the Hostel of St Luke and the Oldham Royal Infirmary.

Goulden was an examiner for the MS London for the DOMS course, under the title Refraction of the Eye. The same year and again in 1932 he was chosen to give the Montgomery lectures at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. At the BMA Annual Meeting in Dublin in 1933 he was a vice-president of the Section of Ophthalmology. From 1937 to 1948 Goulden was surgeon-oculist to Queen Mary's household.

When the second world war came Goulden was past retiring age but he carried on his clinical work at the London and Moorfields, he operated weekly at Brentwood, Chase Farm and Goodmayes and he organised the EMS ophthalmic services with his usual zest and enthusiasm. This involved a great deal of travelling and the strain was severe for a man of his age. Consequently with the end of the war he retired from his hospital appointments but continued his private practice and in the years 1944-46 was President of the Ophthalmological Society of the United Kingdom. He was President of the Section of Ophthalmology of the RSM 1948-49, and was an honorary member of the French and Mexican Ophthalmological Societies.

Charles Goulden was one of the leading ophthalmologists of his day. He came from a Huguenot family which had reverted to Catholicism, and was a staunch supporter of the church. He was a charming man, kind, sympathetic and understanding. A first-class clinician and operator, he was one of the first to bring Gonin's detachment operation to England; it was in education, however, that Goulden excelled. His enthusiasm, simplicity of expression and flair for dealing with students made him a great teacher. He claimed that music was his chief interest, and in the first world war he organised and trained a male voice choir at

Goulden finally retired to the Mill House, Shepreth, near Cambridge. Unfortunately his health deteriorated and he died on 20 September 1953 aged 74, survived by his widow, formerly Norah O'Brien, whom he married in 1911.

Selected Publications:

Refraction of the Eye London 1924; 2nd edition 1938.
Translation with Clara Lomas Harris of Koby's Slit lamp microscopy of the living eye, 1925.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 22 September 1953 p 10 d and 2 October p 8 c by Maurice Whiting; Brit med J, 1953, 2, 834, with appreciation by Arthur Lister; Lancet 1953, 2, 735, with appreciation by MHW].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England