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Robinson, Henry Betham

Henry Betham Robinson, M.S., F.R.C.S. Senior Surgeon to St. Thomas's Hospital London. We regret to record the death on July 31st after some weeks' illness, of Mr. H. B. Robinson, senior surgeon of St. Thomas's Hospital. Henry Betham Robinson was born in August 1860. He received his school education at Dulwich College and entered St. Thomas's Hospital as a student in 1879. There he had a most brilliant career both in work and games. As a half back in the XV he learned to play the game which served him well in his later life, and enabled him to develop that humour, kindliness, willingness, and decision which made him such a good lecturer and teacher of anatomy and surgery.

At the London University he won many distinctions, the chief being the Scholarship and Gold Medal in Medicine at the M.B. and the Gold Medal at the B.S. examinations. In 1893 he was appointed assistant surgeon on the staff of St. Thomas's Hospital. The turn of fortune gave him a long period of probation to serve before his advancement to the senior staff. This period of waiting he turned to good account. His out-patient clinic was always crowded with students bent on picking up instruction which he gave in a most attractive way. Few can have excelled him in this.

In 1892 he was elected one of the Hunterian Lecturers at the Royal College of Surgeons, choosing as his subject "Cystic diseases of the breast." The lectures are a mine of information. His later years were more occupied by teaching than publication.

In 1901 the Cheselden Masonic lodge was started at St. Thomas's Hospital. Mr. Robinson soon became a member, and in masonry found an outlet for his surplus energies. He occupied the Master's chair of this lodge, when stricken with illness which was to rob the hospital of a great teacher, whose kindness and geniality went straight to the heart of the student.

Mr. Robison leaves a widow and son, the bright promise of whose career in his father's profession did much to sweeten the labours of the Last years.

Mr. Edward Corner, to whom we owe many of the particulars here given, concludes by the following tribute to his colleague's memory.

The greater part of Mr. Robinson's work was done at the hospital, which will long mourn his loss. When the war broke out he took up work at the No. 2 General Hospital, alter volunteering at the King George Hospital, where he worked with keen interest until he found it necessary to to save all his strength for his own hospital and its military part, the No. 5 General Hospital to which he was attached.

This war showed him to his colleagues as one willing to undertake much extra work, thus enabling others to go away, sacrificing himself - how much we now know - in its performance. Can it be wondered that so many mourn and feel his loss; or that so many paid a last tribute to his memory by attending the services held in the St. Marylebone Parish Church and the hospital chapel? At St. Thomas's Hospital Mr. Betham Robinson was surgeon to out-patients and lecturer on surgery. Outside the hospital he was consulting surgeon to the East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell, and examiner in surgery and anatomy at the Universities of London and Manchester. He had also held the following appointments; Surgeon to the Shadwell Hospital for Children, and to the King George Hospital, surgeon in charge to the Throat Department, St. Thomas's Hospital; teacher of practical operative surgery; lecturer on anatomy, demonstrator of anatomy, resident assistant surgeon; surgical registrar and many minor appointments. This all shows the amount of work which Mr. Betham Robinson has done for the school and hospital, and for which both are supremely grateful. British Medical Journal 10 Aug. 1918


First name(s)Henry Betham
Date of birthAugust 1860
Place of birthWest Norwood
Family detailsHusband of Mrs. H. Betham Robinson, of 8H, Bickenhall Mansions, Gloucester Place, London. Late of 1, Upper Wimpole St, London
Previous educationDulwich College
CollegeSt Thomas' Hospital
Dates at college1879
QualificationsB.M. & B.S. 1885; M.D., M.S., F.R.C.S.
Military unitR.A.M.C.
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
Date of death31 July 1918
Age at death58
Rank at deathMajor
Cause of deathDied on service
Burial placeHighgate Cemetery
NotesPublications include: St Thomas' Hospital Surgeons and the Practice of their Art in the Past; papers relating to surgery and diseases of the throat in medical periodicals
SourcesSt Thomas's Hospital Medical School Records, King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; British Medical Journal

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