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Biographical entry Stewart, Henry Hamilton (1904 - 1970)

MRCS 1928; FRCS 1930; BA Cambridge 1925; MB BCh 1928; MD 1957; LRCP 1928.

23 August 1904
21 November 1970
General surgeon and Urological surgeon


Henry Hamilton Stewart was born on 23 August 1904, the son of H A Stewart, a practitioner at Thornton, Bradford. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School, King's College Cambridge and St Thomas's Hospital. At Cambridge he was placed in the first class in the Natural Sciences Tripos of 1925. At St Thomas's, as a clinical student, he gained the Cheselden Medal, the Solly Medal and the Toiler Prize, all in 1928. After qualification, he held house appointments at St Thomas's, first as a casualty officer, followed by that of a house surgeon and, after being admitted as a Fellow, as a surgical registrar to Sir Percy Sargent.

Returning to Bradford he was appointed assistant surgeon to Bradford Royal Infirmary and surgeon to the Childrens Hospital, at the age of 28. He rapidly built up an outstanding reputation as a general surgeon but as time progressed he became more and more a specialist in the field of urology. He was a founder member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons and was awarded the St Peter's Gold Medal of the Association in 1968. He was one of the early members of the Punch Club and an acknowledged expert in the difficult technique of punch prostatectomy performing more than 4000 operations between 1947 and 1965.

On his retirement in 1969 he was made a Freeman of the city of Bradford, a unique honour for a medical man. His work culminated in his founding of the Postgraduate School of Studies in Medical and Surgical Sciences at the University of Bradford to which he was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor and a member of the Council of the University. He consolidated the position of urology in Bradford by establishing a joint unit at St Luke's Hospital and the Infirmary. In 1952 he was appointed a Hunterian Professor at the College as he was an early exponent of the operation of partial nephrectomy in selected cases of renal calculus, his results showing a remarkably low recurrence rate. His scientific approach to a problem and his surgical ingenuity were well demonstrated by his plastic operation for congenital hydronephrosis associated with a lower polar vessel.

As a man he was full of ideas carefully thought out and of great courage and endurance, having to contend with serious illness and disability in his later years. As a surgeon he was deeply interested in his patients, possessed of great patience and exquisite thoroughness in all he undertook. He had a charm of manner, a great sense of humour and a slow deliberate manner of speaking, particularly when he was driving home some point in an argument or in teaching. He was a lifelong member of the Bradford St Andrew's Society and its President in 1954. His favourite recreation was salmon fishing.

He married Edna, née Pullan, who survived him with their three sons, one of whom is a surgeon. He died on 21 November 1970 aged 66. A memorial service was held in Bradford Cathedral on 25 November 1970.

Partial nephrectomy in the treatment of renal calculi. Ann Roy Coll Surg Engl 1952, 11, 32.
A new operation for hydronephrosis in association with a lower polar (or aberrant) artery. Brit J Surg 1947, 35, 51.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Daily Telegraph 24 November 1970; Brit med J 1970, 4, 625 and 1971, 1, 55; Lancet 1970, 2, 1201].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England