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Biographical entry Holborow, Christopher Adrian (1926 - 1998)

OBE; TD 1969; DLO RCS 1953; MRCS and FRCS 1957; MA Cambridge 1953; MB BChir 1957; MD 1963; FRCS Edinburgh 1957.

24 December 1926
Beccles, Suffolk
4 February 1998
ENT surgeon and Military surgeon


Christopher Adrian Holborow was a distinguished and well-known surgeon in London. He was born in Beccles, Suffolk, on 24 December 1926, the son of Canon George Holborow, a clerk in holy orders. His mother was Barbara Stella Watson, the daughter of the Reverend Herbert Watson of Cransford, Suffolk. He attended Betteshanger and Repton Schools, before going up to Caius College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences and obtained first class honours in parts I and II and was awarded the annual prize and Minor scholarship in 1947. His clinical studies were at the Middlesex Hospital, where he was awarded the Mrs Charles Davies prize for surgery. He qualified in 1951, and then held house appointments at the Middlesex with Sir Gordon Gordon-Taylor. Subsequently, he worked with Sir Harold Gillies and with James Crooks at Great Ormond Street. He passed the DLO (RCS) in 1953 and entered the RAMC as a graded specialist in otolaryngology, attaining the rank of Major.

After leaving the Army, he studied for the Fellowship, which he passed in 1957 and was soon appointed to the consultant staff of the Westminster Hospital, where he took a particular interest in the diseases of children and the effects of deafness in childhood. He became medical adviser to the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, and his work for this organisation took him to most of the countries of the Commonwealth. He was awarded the OBE for this work in 1989. He was also deeply involved in other charities, the City of London Field Regiment and was master of the Tallow Chandlers' Company.

In 1961, he married Wanda Margaret Nickels, by whom he had two daughters and a son. She died in 1982 and he then married Caroline Woollcombe, who was the widow of a fellow surgeon. He devoted much of his spare time to the Territorial Army, but he also collected paintings, mostly of the seventeenth century, and enjoyed fly-fishing.

Holborow found the frustrations of life in the National Health Service hard to bear and the reorganisations of the seventies and eighties, which were designed to put the service on a 'new footing', made him dissatisfied with life. He eventually left the NHS and retreated into private practice for the last 12 years of his working life. He died on 4 February 1998, survived by his wife, children and two grandsons.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times 27 February 1998; BMJ 1998 316 1792].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England