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Biographical entry King, Edgar Frederick (1899 - 1989)

MRCS 1924; FRCS 1929; MB ChB Bristol 1924; DOMS 1927: LRCP 1924.

3 December 1899
Midsomer Norton
16 February 1989


Edgar Frederick (John) King was born in Midsomer Norton, near Bristol, on 3 December 1899. His father, Edgar James King was in commerce and his mother was Sarah Denning, nee Bird. He was educated at King Edward's School, Bath, and at Bristol University and Medical School. He served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery in the first world war and after demobilisation continued with medical studies. He qualified in 1924 and did junior hospital appointments at the Bristol and at the Moorfields Hospital, London. He was particularly influenced in this by Thomas Carwardine of Bristol Royal, Cyril Walker of Bristol Eye Hospital and later by Sir William Lister of Moorfields.

He was appointed to the staff of Moorfields in 1937 and to the Westminster Hospital in 1938. He joined the RAMC in 1939 and served as an ophthalmologist (Major) throughout the war. He was unmarried and a very private person, always living alone. He was twice secretary of the Ophthalmological Society and, as its librarian and later, vice-president, was a member of its council from 1946 to 1963. Some weeks before his 65th birthday he slipped quietly out of both of his hospital clinics to escape the emotional trauma of disengagement and the ritual farewells; thereafter he withdrew from all professional contacts although avidly reading the journals.

He continued to live alone, constantly moving house. In middle life he took up piano lessons, riding and horticulture. In later years he settled for an ascetic life in a little London flat near to the church on which he increasingly came to lean. He died on 16 February 1989.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1989, 298, 742 with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England