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Biographical entry Golding-Wood, Philip (1914 - 1997)

MRCS 1941; FRCS 1949; BSc; DLO 1952; LRCP 1941.

3 May 1914
January 1997
ENT surgeon


Philip Golding-Wood was a consultant otorhinolaryngologist in Maidstone, Kent. He was born on 3 May 1914, the son of Benjamin and Bessie Wood in Speldhurst. His father was a general storekeeper. His mother's maiden name was Golding, and in 1953 he added his mother's name to his surname by deed poll. His father had lived a colourful life in South Africa, hunting big game and making a fortune in the gold mines and later losing it. The family returned to England, where his father taught him to box - this was to be very useful to him in the years to come. He was sent to Worthing High School.

On leaving school, he went to Chelsea Polytechnic to study biology and this was a considerable financial strain on his family. The death of his mother left him in very poor circumstances and, as he had fallen out with his father, he was now forced to make his own way in the world. After passing his BSc with first class honours, he managed to win an open scholarship to University College, London, to study medicine. His scholarship lasted for three years only and so he had to earn money to keep himself during the clinical years. In the course of his pre-clinical training he won a half share in the University prize in anatomy. This was shared with Alan Graham Apley FRCS. He made up the balance required to keep himself by delivering yachts and by professional boxing. During his clinical years he won prizes in obstetrics, medicine and surgery. He qualified in 1941 and worked at the Hammersmith Postgraduate Hospital, where he met his future wife, Margaret Owens.

He then moved to Newcastle as a house surgeon, where he got a wide experience in general surgery, before going into the RAMC in February 1942. He remained in the Army from 1942 to 1948, obtaining experience in neurosurgery. In 1945 he was promoted to surgical specialist and awarded the temporary rank of Major. During his Army service he was wounded twice and was twice mentioned in despatches.

On leaving the Army, he passed the fellowship examination in 1949 and the diploma of laryngology and otology in 1952. He spent one year on the surgical professorial unit at Bristol as a senior registrar and then moved to the neurosurgical unit at Liverpool and finally to Newcastle where, for two and a half years, he was senior registrar to the ear, nose and throat department. He was then appointed consultant otorhinolaryngologist to the Medway group in 1953 and moved to Maidstone in 1955.

His interest in neurosurgery and his wide experience led him to make contributions in the surgery of the pterygopalatine fossa and in the treatment of Menière's syndrome. His work in this field was recognised by the award of an Arris and Gale lectureship in 1961, followed by a Mackenzie Mackinnon research fellowship at the College from 1961 to 1964. In 1982 he gave a Hunterian lecture on 'vidian neurectomy and "so-called vasomotor rhinitis"'.

Life had not been easy for Golding-Wood. Although he became engaged to be married soon after qualification, it was some time before he could afford to marry and, when he did, he relied on his wife Margaret to help to support the home. The trials he had endured made him forthright in expressing his opinions and, from time to time, he could be pugnacious, although, as the years passed, he mellowed. There was one son of the marriage, David, who followed his father into medicine and surgery and is now a consultant otolaryngologist. In retirement, he pursued many hobbies, including history, gardening, natural history and photography. During his professional career he published 30 papers and was an invited speaker at many international meetings. His wife died six years before him in 1991, after almost 50 years of a happy married life. He died after a short illness in January 1997.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England