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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before