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Biographical entry Griffiths, James Ivor (1901 - 1983)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1929; BSc Wales 1921; LRCP 1924.

26 December 1901
26 October 1983
ENT surgeon


James Ivor Griffiths was born in Tredegar on 26 December 1901, the son of James Evan Griffiths and Naomi, née Morgan. He was awarded a scholarship to the University of Wales in Cardiff where he graduated BSc in 1921. He won an open scholarship to University College Hospital, qualifying MRCS, LRCP in 1924, winning the gold medal of his year. He assisted Wilfred Trotter and Lionel Colledge in private practice and became FRCS in 1929. He was awarded the Streatfeild Research Fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons for work on the lymphatic drainage of the paranasal sinuses. In 1935, he was appointed ear, nose and throat surgeon to the Hammersmith Hospital and Royal Postgraduate Medical School and he served in the RAMC in the second world war, rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

He was a most successful consultant ENT surgeon with a wide private practice. He was a popular after-dinner speaker and an excellent raconteur. He had a particular interest in singers. With Sir Milsom Rees he developed the famous Melba throat spray that was used by Dame Nellie Melba. He operated on the soprano Joan Sutherland at a critical point in her career. His particular interest was in helping singers especially those just starting out. He was consultant to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to the Musicians Benevolent Fund and to the Royal Academy of Music, and consultant to and honorary diplomate of the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was also chairman of the Philharmonia Orchestra and honorary consultant to the Association of English Singers and Teachers. Other interests included tennis and golf and what he called "farming on a large scale".

He married Audrey Mary Dade in 1933 and she died in 1980. When he died on 26 October 1983, he was survived by his son Haydn and his daughter Carroll (who had married an ENT surgeon) and his beloved grandson, James.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1983, 287, 1557, 1893; Lancet 1983, 2, 1151-2].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England