Obituary: Professor Reginald Hall

Reginald Hall; endocrinologist: born Belmont, Co Durham 1 October 1931; Consultant Physician, Newcastle Area Health Authority 1966-80; Professor of Medicine, Newcastle University 1970-79; Professor of Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine 1980-89 (Emeritus); CBE 1989; FRSM 1994; married 1955 Joan Scott Patterson (died 1959; one daughter), 1960 Molly Hill (two sons, two daughters); died Cardiff 20 July 1994.

REGINALD HALL was a talented physician and clinical scientist, teacher and academic who established internationally acclaimed endocrine units in Newcastle and Cardiff, with special expertise in diseases of the thyroid and pituitary glands.

He was born in Belmont, Co Durham, in 1931 and was always proud of his Geordie heritage. He qualified in medicine in 1956 with First Class honours from Durham University following an outstanding undergraduate career which included a First Class honours intercalated BSc degree in physiology. In his early, formative years as a junior doctor he was particularly influenced by two physicians and endocrinologists at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle - Dr Natty Armstrong and Professor Sir George Smart. They encouraged him to pursue a career in academic medicine and endocrinology and, in 1960, he was awarded a prestigious Harkness Fellowship. This enabled him to undertake a period of research training at Harvard during which he first developed his lifelong interest in the thyroid gland. His work there formed the basis of his MD degree.

On his return to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle in 1967 he continued his thyroid research and his career became firmly established when he was appointed Wellcome Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science from 1964 to 1967. In 1966 he was appointed Honorary Consultant Physician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and in 1970 he was awarded a personal chair in medicine by Newcastle University. In 1980 he was appointed Professor of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, until his premature retirement through ill-health in 1989 at the age of 58.

Having established endocrine units in both Newcastle and Cardiff he contributed greatly to their development as medical centres of excellence for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Although Hall's interests in endocrinology were broad, he was mainly concerned with diseases of the thyroid gland. He was President of the Thyroid Club of the UK from 1978 to 1984 and a leading contributor to the European Thyroid Association from its inception in 1968. Two particular events gave him enormous satisfaction. The first was the decision of the European Thyroid Association Committee to hold their Annual Scientific Meeting in Newcastle in 1978, the first time the association had met in the UK. The second was his completion, shortly after his retirement, of a brief history of the European Thyroid Association.

Hall attracted young doctors from all over the world to train with him in Newcastle and Cardiff. Many of these went on to become senior physicians and leaders in their own fields. He taught by example, in the same way as he managed his patients, with warmth, humour and compassion.

Reg Hall's CV lists over 400 scientific papers, innumerable chapters and reviews and several textbooks. He was the first to acknowledge the contributions of others and unstinting in his praise of them. He was a member of both the Cell and Systems Boards of the Medical Research Council from 1976 to 1980 and Chairman of the Systems Board Grants Committee in 1979. He also chaired the British Diabetic Association Review Body from 1981 to 1989 and the Royal College of Physicians Standing Committee on Endocrinology and Diabetes from 1983 to 1989.

At the peak of his career, and shortly after his appointment in Cardiff, Hall developed a rare and devastating illness, primary amyloidosis, which required heart transplantation in 1984. He faced his illness in a matter-of-fact manner, determined that it would make as little difference as possible to his commitments. He pursued his clinical work, research and teaching with undiminished vigour and continued his travels to meetings as an invited lecturer.

However, in 1989 he decided that the time had come for him to retire. True to form, he maintained his active interest in medical matters and over the last two years was in the process of writing a text on medical eponyms. But he had more freedom to pursue some of his other long-standing interests - he was an expert bryologist and had a large collection of mosses, gathered during his many travels.

Even during his final days Hall was pleased to receive further accolades in the form of an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Wales and his Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides global satellite communi...

Austen Lloyd: Practice / HR Manager - Somerset

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A rare and exciting opportunity for a Practice...

Ashdown Group: HR Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen