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Biographical entry Hobbs, Henry Edwin (1910 - 1990)

CStJ 1970; MRCS 1939; FRCS 1941; MB BS London 1938; DOMS 1942; DO Oxford 1942; LRCP 1939.

4 February 1910
3 October 1990
Ophthalmic surgeon


Henry Edwin Hobbs was born in London on 4 February 1910, the son of Henry Hobbs, an officer in the Salvation Army. His early education was at Grade schools in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver in Canada before returning to England where he attended Tottenham Boys' Junior Technical School. His full-time education ended at the age of 15 when he became a testing room assistant to a firm of microscope makers. He acquired a diploma of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and continued his education at night school passing the London University matriculation.

He then entered the London Hospital Medical College where he was awarded the Buxton Prize in anatomy and the Andrew Clark Prize in clinical medicine and pathology. He qualified in 1938 and during house appointments was influenced by Russell Howard, Sir James Walton and Professor Victor Dix. After the outbreak of war he served as a surgeon in the Emergency Medical Service, passing the FRCS in 1941 and both the DOMS and DO in the following year. He then joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was appointed an ophthalmic specialist with the rank of Squadron Leader.

After demobilisation he was registrar at Moorfields, Westminster and Central Eye Hospitals before being appointed to the consultant staff of the Metropolitan Hospital, the Maida Vale Hospital for Nervous Diseases, the Royal Free Hospital and the Royal Northern Hospital. He served as a member of the Court of Examiners for the final FRCS examination in ophthalmology and was also an examiner for the DOMS and the British Orthoptic Board. He contributed original articles to the Lancet on chloroquine keratopathy and chloroquine retinopathy and wrote the chapter on the cornea in Clinical surgery 1963 and the chapter on the optic nerve in Modern ophthalmology 1972. He was the author of Principles of ophthalmology, published in 1965.

Towards the end of his professional life he was appointed an honorary consultant at Moorfields and honorary ophthalmic surgeon to the Home of St Giles, East Hanningfield. He was made a Commander of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in 1970.

In 1942 he married Jean Kennedy and there were three daughters, one of whom is a qualified doctor practising in paediatrics. After he gave up active practice, his wife died and he retired to Anstey, near Salisbury, where he was able to pursue his hobbies of music and gardening. He died in a nursing home near Newbury on 3 October 1990 aged 80.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1991, 302, 405].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England