Embryology History - William Hamilton

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William James Hamilton (1903-1975)
William James Hamilton (1903-1975)

William James Hamilton (1903-1975) was originally at the St Thomas's Hospital Medical School and in 1936 became Professor of Anatomy in the University of London at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College. He was Regius Professor of Anatomy at the University of Glasgow from 1945 to 1948. He was Professor of Anatomy at Charing Cross Medical School and then Dean of the School from 1956 to 1962. Finally, he was Professor Emeritus of Anatomy in the University of London since 1971.

He wrote, along with Boyd and Mossman, the textbook Human Embryology (1945).

Links: University of Glasgow | 1976 In memoriam: William James Hamilton

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Historic Papers: 1800's | 1900's | 1910's | 1920's | 1930's | 1940's | 1950's | 1960's | 1970's | 1980's

Template Link - Hamilton WJ.


Hamilton WJ. and Gladstone RJ. A presomite human embryo (Shaw) - the implantation. (1942) J Anat. 76(2): 187-203 PMID 17104888

Hamilton WJ. Barnes J. and Dodds GH. Phases of maturation, fertilization and early development in man. (1943) J. Obstet. Gynaecol, Brit. Emp., 50: 241-245.

Hamilton WJ. Boyd JD. and Mossman HW. Human Embryology. (1945) Cambridge: Heffers.

Hamilton WJ. The first findings of a pronuclear stage in man. (1946) J. Anat., 80: 224.

Hamilton WJ. Development of the egg of the cow up to the stage of blastocyst formation. (1946) J Anat. 80: 194-204. PMID 17105009

Hamilton WJ. A previllous human embryo. (1946) J Anat. 80: 215. PMID 20286234

Hamilton WJ. Hydatiform degeneration in an early human embryo. (1946) J Anat. 80: 244. PMID 20286256

Hamilton WJ. Early stages of human development. (1949) Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 4(5): 281-94. PMID 18121228 PMC2238331

Hamilton WJ. and Boyd JD. Development of the human placenta in the first three months of gestation. (1960) J Anat. 94(3): 297-328. PMID14399291 | PDF

Glenister TW. (1976). In memoriam: William James Hamilton. J. Anat. , 121, 207-11. PMID: 767313

HAMILTON WJ & BOYD JD. (1960). Development of the human placenta in the first three months of gestation. J. Anat. , 94, 297-328. PMID: 14399291

R. J. Gladstone

Obituary - R. J. Gladstone, M.D., F.R.C.S., F.R.S.Eb.

British Medical Journal March 22, 1947 pp393-294

The anatomical world will mourn the death of R. J. Gladstone on Feb. 12, for, although he did not hold a chair of anatomy, he was one of the best-known members of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland for over fifty years. He was born in 1865, the son of Dr. T. H. Gladstone, and was educated at Clapham Grammar School and the University of Aberdeen, where he qualified M.B., C.M. in 1888. After leaving Aberdeen he became house-physician and later housesurgeon at the Middlesex Hospital. Having a bilateral congenital cataract, he decided to make anatomy his special field of work, and was appointed junior demonstrator in anatomy at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School in 1895. The following year he was promoted to senior demonstrator of anatomy and took his final F.R.C.S.

By this time Gladstone had already started to publish some of his original papers, and in 1905 he went to Vienna with Dr. R. A. Young to investigate methods of teaching anatomy and surgery. A year later he visited Vancouver as a representative of the British Medical Association. He made new contacts and friends and came back to this country with fresh ideas on the teaching of medical students. He continued his association with the Middlesex Hospital until early in 1913, when he became reader in anatomy at King’s College, London, a post he held until his retirement in 1938. Gladstone had a very extensive knowledge of anatomy, morphology, anthropology, and embryology. He read extensively and was a thorough master of his subject. Sir Arthur Keith was wont to say that Gladstone had a better knowledge of human and comparative embryology than any other anatomist of his day.

Gladstone was a born worker and put in a very full day in the. He did his full share of demonstrating anatomy department. in the dissecting-room, and in this respect was an example to those senior demonstrators who consider their job is purely research. At night he worked on the many papers that came from his pen. He loved music and was always delighted to attend any musical show that medical students organized. He was an ardent supporter of the Zoological Society and spent most of his Sundays in the gardens making friends with a variety of different animals.

He could not see clearly beyond a few feet, and this no doubt was his greatest handicap in life, as he could not see the pranks his students were performing during his lectures, and he would have found it difficult to have had sole charge of a department. Although the students ragged him and were liable to be somewhat uproarious during his lectures, he was very popular and was affectionately known as “ Gladeye.” He worked hard for the Anatomical Society and put in many years as Recorder; his notes of meetings were a model for any successor to emulate. He rarely missed a meeting and was always willing to help the younger members of the Society. He never pushed himself forward and was always content to take a back seat. When he spoke at meetings his remarks were constructive and had practical experience as their main background.

Gladstone wrote with Cecil Wakeley a book on the pineal organ, which is a most comprehensive volume and one which has been styled as the most practical and valuable work that has ever been published on that subject. In 1930 he began to write a textbook on human embryology, but this has never been completed. This was because as soon as he finished one section he wanted to revise it and bring it up to date. He completed over 500 drawings for this book, and anatomists the world over are the poorer for its non-appearance. He married in 1912, and a son and a daughter completed a very happy home. He often worked far into the night, and was meticulous regarding the facts and figures that appeared in his writings. For many years he was a valued contributor to the columns of the British Medical Journal, and he had been a member of the B.M.A. for over fifty years.

He was a lovable and meek man who turned the other cheek rather than speak out against those who did not agree with him. When he retired from King’s College he spent his time abstracting medical literature, or else reading proofs and verifying references in medical articles passed for press. His house in Dulwich was bombed in 1941 and he had to move. He found a new home at Brockenhurst, where he continued his work until a few days before his death. Gladstone was a born artist and illustrated his many papers with excellent drawings. His daughter has inherited this talent. Gladstone left a wealth of embryonic material behind him at King’s College. There are series of sections of human embryos, all carefully documented, which should prove of the greatest value to students of anatomy and embryology.


Gladstone RJ. A case of congenital absence of the left kidney and ureter. (1915) J Anat. Physiol. 49(4): 418-428.PMID 17233045

Gladstone RJ. Congenital absence of the appendix of the caecum. (1915) J Anat. Physiol. 49(4): 414-417. PMID 17233044

Gladstone RJ. and Erichsen-Powell W. Manifestation of occipital vertebra; and fusion of the atlas with the occipital. (1915) J Anat. Physiol. 49(2): 190–209. PMID 17233025

Gladstone RJ. and Wakeley CP. Defective development of the mandibular arch: the etiology of arrested development and an inquiry into the question of the inheritance of congenital defects. (1923) J Anat. 57: 149-167. PMID 17103964

Gladstone RJ. A note on the post-natal growth of the kidney, thyroid gland and liver. (1924) J Anat. 58: 170-177. PMID 17104007

Gladstone RJ. and Wakeley C. The Pineal Organ. (1940) Bailliere, Tindall & Cox, London. PDF

Hamilton WJ. and Gladstone RJ. A presomite human embryo (Shaw) - the implantation. (1942) J Anat. 76(2): 187-203 PMID 17104888

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, May 18) Embryology Embryology History - William Hamilton. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Embryology_History_-_William_Hamilton

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