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Biographical entry Knowlton, Ronald Wallace (1904 - 1997)

MRCS 1928; FRCS 1938; MD Cambridge 1933; MRCOG 1934; FRCOG 1950; JP.

12 June 1904
7 February 1997
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Ronald Wallace Knowlton was a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in the Southampton area. He was born on 12 June 1904, in Southampton, the son of Alexander John Knowlton, a general practitioner and a JP, and Bertha née Bates, a Middlesex Hospital nursing sister. He was educated at King Edward VI School in Southampton and Queens' College, Cambridge, where he first read mathematics and natural science, but then won a university scholarship to the Middlesex Hospital, following in his father's footsteps.

After being house surgeon at the Middlesex to Sampson Handley and Webb-Johnson, he specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology, and completed junior appointments at the Middlesex under Victor Bonney, the Chelsea Hospital for Women and the City of London Maternity Hospital. He was appointed the first consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to the then Southampton Corporation in 1935. Over the next 14 years he was single-handed, but built up a new maternity unit.

He was renowned for never missing a clinic or an operating list, even if they fell on Christmas Day; on holidays, he conducted huge outpatient clinics, followed by a tea for the staff provided by his wife. He was active in his hospital and in the BMA, being honorary secretary for the Southampton division, and an honorary fellow of the BMA.

He was a horse racing enthusiast and a member of the Bibury and Newbury Clubs, and for a time had a part-share in a not very successful horse. Like his father, he became a JP in 1953. He married Nancy Thackeray, a descendant of the author, and former matron of Sidmouth Hospital. They had two sons, Edward and Andrew. He died on 7 February 1997 aged 92 .

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 314 1997 1284, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England