Nottingham Hospitals History



(1855 - 1929)

President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society


Warwickshire, received his medical education at Edinburgh University, where he Henry Handford, son of Dr. Thomas Handford, who practiced at Atherstone, graduated as M.B., C.M., with high distinction, in 1878, and at Paris and Vienna. After working for a time as a medical tutor at Queen's College, Birmingham, he settled in Nottingham and became a physician to the General Hospital, a post that he held till 1906, displaying a special aptitude for pathology and cardiology. For the next twenty years, till his retirement in 1926, he was medical officer of health for the county. During the Great War he was a major in the sanitary service of the R.A.M.C. His wife was a daughter of the first Lord Belper; they had two sons.





Medical Directory, 1915.

Henry Handford:- "Elmfield," Southwell and Shirehall, Nottingham. M.D. Edinburgh, 1882, M.B., C.M. (Honours) 1878, F.R.C.P., London, 1899: M.R.C.S., England, 1878, D.P.H. Cambridge, 1884 (Educated, Paris and Vienna):  Consultant Physician, Nottingham General Hospital and the Nottinghamshire Association for the prevention of Consumption. Medical Officer of Health to the Nott's County Council. Major, R.A.M.C. T.F. Sanitary Service. Ex-President of the Midland Branch of the Society Medical Officers of Health and the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. Fellow of the Royal Sanitory Institute. External member of the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh. Late:- Tutor, Queen's College, Birmingham.

Dr. H. Handford: A fine, courteous English gentleman, and you will find nothing better in this mortal world. As a physician, he was sound in judgment, exceedingly conscientious, careful, accurate, and well versed in all recent knowledge.

This is what Sir Humphrey Rolleston wrote about him:-

He was very active at the old Pathological Society of London, and in March, 1884, read a paper to the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society on “Bacteria” which was followed by much discussion. The Hospital Report under the date of April, 1906, contain the following memorandum:-

The Board deeply regrets to report that owing to his having received an appointment under the Nottinghamshire County Council, Dr. Handford has found it necessary to resign his position as an Honorary Physician of the Hospital, which he held with such distinction for upwards of twenty years. While he all the time upheld the dignity of his office by his constant kindness and courtesy he endeared himself to his patients and won the respect and appreciation of all who had the privilege to work with or under him.

From 1906 Dr. Handford devoted himself to his duties as Medical Officer of Health to the County of Nottingham in painstaking, thoroughly conscientious fashion - but the General Hospital and the people of Nottingham sadly missed his skill as a physician.

The war came and with it great trouble for this kindly physician:-

October 15th, 1915 was a very sad day for Dr. Handford.

The 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Territorial) were mobilized at the onset of war. On February 25th, 1915 they went to France and were in the thick of fighting until the end of the war.

On October 15th they took part in the disastrous attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. On that day, Dr. Handford’s two sons, Captain Basil Handford and Lieutenant Everard Handford were killed. “Two of the most promising young officers in the Battalion.”

Dr. Handford’s son-in-law, Major John Becher, was mortally wounded and died on January 1st, 1916 - “In John Becher the Battalion lost one beloved of us all, who throughout ever had at heart the welfare of his men, whether in or out of the trenches, at work or at play.”

On that day Lieutenant-Colonel G. H. Fowler, who was in command was killed - he was the nephew of, by then, the late Dr. William Bramwell Ransom - “A man who ever inspired in all ranks an affection and respect, which can never have been exceeded in any unit of the Army.”

(History of the 1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, 1914 - 1919,

 by Captain W. C. C. Weetman.)

October 15th was a sad day for many Nottinghamshire homes. Life was never the same for Dr. Handford after this deadly blow.

Dr. Handford carried on his work as Medical Officer of Health to the County of Nottingham until old age and ill health brought his resignation. At this time his wife commenced a long and sad illness.

Dr. Handford’s character stood the test for he never complained: but accepted the troubles that had come upon him with a sound philosophy.

In 1929 he died and hear is the tribute of the Medical Committee:-

March, 1929.

“It is with great regret that we have to put on record the death of Dr. Henry Handford. Those who new him well admired him equally for his excellence as a physician and for his qualities as a man. No one could be more kind and courteous than he was at all times and under all circumstances; there was about him a sort of refined dignity of bearing which compelled respect. A love of literature and music, and a great hatred of any approach toward untruthfulness completed the picture of a truly cultured gentleman.”

A History of the General Hospital near Nottingham

By Frank H. Jacob.

Pages 232, 233.