Radford, Thomas (DNB00)

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RADFORD, THOMAS (1793–1881), obstetrician, son of John Radford, dyer and bleacher, was born at Hulme Fields, Manchester, on 2 Nov. 1793, and educated at a private school at Chester. At the age of seventeen he was apprenticed to his uncle, William Wood, surgeon, of Manchester, whose partner and successor he afterwards became. After study at Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospitals, he was in 1818 elected surgeon to the Manchester and Salford Lying-in Hospital, and he continued his connection with that charity as well as with St. Mary's Hospital, which was associated with it, in various capacities to the end of his life; his latest offices were those of honorary consulting physician and chairman of the board of management. The interests of St. Mary's Hospital were always his special care. A new building for the hospital, opened in 1856, was erected mainly through the exertions of Radford and his wife. He gave to the institution, in 1853, his valuable library, rich in obstetrical works, and his museum of surgical objects, afterwards making many important additions to both collections. Some years before his death he invested the sum of 3,670l. in the hands of trustees, 2,670l. of which was to be devoted to the benefit of the poor in connection with the hospital, and the remaining 1000l. to maintain the library. A catalogue of the Radford Library, compiled by C. J. Cullingworth, was published in 1877.

Radford was one of the founders of the Manchester school of medicine in 1825, and was a lecturer on midwifery at the Pine Street school of medicine in the same town. This was the first complete medical school in the provinces. He became a member of the Apothecaries' Society in 1817. At the same date he was admitted a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and was elected a fellow in 1852. He graduated M.D. at Heidelberg in 1839, and later in the same year was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

He delivered the first address on obstetrics before the Provincial, now British, Medical Association at its meeting in 1854, and was the author of many papers and communications on midwifery, and of ‘Observations on the Cæsarean Section and on other Obstetric Operations,’ 1865; 2nd ed. 1880, besides several pamphlets. Radford was a notable link in the chain of able and well-known Manchester gynæcologists, starting with Charles White [q. v.] and including John Roberton [q. v.], James Whitehead [q. v.], and others. He was one of the first in this country to advise abdominal section, and gave much assistance in counsel and support to Charles Clay in his early operations for the removal of diseased ovaries.

Radford died at his residence at Higher Broughton, Manchester, on 29 May 1881, aged 87, and was buried in the neighbouring church of St. Paul, Kersal. He married, in 1821, Elizabeth Newton, daughter of John Newton, incumbent of Didsbury, near Manchester. She died in 1874. Their only child died young.

[Manchester newspapers, 30 May 1881; Lancet, 11 Feb. 1882, p. 218; personal knowledge and information from Dr. D. Lloyd Roberts.]

C. W. S.