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Biographical entry Lakin, Charles Ernest (1878 - 1972)

MRCS 1901; FRCS 1905; MB BS London 1902; MD 1903; MRCP 1908; FRCP 1916.

2 May 1972
Bury St Edmunds
Dermatologist, Pathologist and Physician


Charles Ernest Lakin was born in 1878, the son of a general practitioner who became the Mayor of Leicester. He was educated at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School where he was a First Entrance Scholar, and won Broderip and Freeman Scholarships, and qualified in 1901 with the Conjoint Diploma, and the degrees of London University in 1902, obtaining honours in medicine and obstetric medicine. In 1903 he proceeded to the degree of MD, and in 1908 he passed the examination for MRCP having been admitted as a Fellow of the College of Surgeons in 1905. At this period it was the custom for the physicians to undertake the post-mortem examinations and to teach pathology, and in this activity Lakin was outstanding as a teacher and expert opinion.

During the first world war he served as pathologist at Addington Park War Hospital with a commission in the RAMC, although in civil life he held the appointment of consulting physician at the Middlesex Hospital. He was also on the staff of the London Fever Hospital and had, therefore, a special interest in infectious diseases. He was, in addition, consulting physician to Golden Square Throat Hospital and to the West Suffolk Hospital and acted as medical referee for HM Treasury. In his earlier years he had been a demonstrator of anatomy and a clinical assistant in the dermatological department at the Middlesex Hospital. For a time he was a clinical assistant at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street.

At the College of Physicians he was Lumleian Lecturer in 1932, Harveian Orator, and in 1947 Senior Censor. One time President of the Medical Society of London, he was also honorary librarian and delivered the Lettsomian Lecture in 1934. As a teacher he was outstanding with his wide field of knowledge of general medicine, infectious fevers, dermatology, children's diseases and, in particular, of pathology. Coronary thrombosis was no novelty to him as early as 1920.

A bachelor, he was a genial host with many friends, a lover of music and a keen student of history. At the time of his death he was the most senior Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He died at his house, West Stow Hall, Bury St Edmunds, on 2 May 1972, aged 94.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 4 May 1972, p18; Brit med J 1972, 2, 659; Lancet 1972, 1, 1130].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England