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Helen Wingate

A founder member of BAUS

Helen Wingate (1895 - 1985) was added to the list of BAUS members at the second meeting making her one of our founders, and one of first two female members, along with Catherine Lewis.

Read more about Catherine Lewis

Affectionately nicknamed "Nell" by her family, Helen Wingate was born in October 1895 in Greenock, a port town to the West of Glasgow. She attended the local Greenock Academy and later the Mount School before gaining her place at Glasgow University. During her early education, she was injured in a fire and suffered burns to her face, no doubt exposing her to the medical profession from an early age, and perhaps steering her towards a future career in surgery.

In 1914, she enrolled as a medical student at Queen Margaret College, the ladies’ medical school attached to Glasgow University. She graduated with commendation in 1920 and was amongst a small group of women doctors who pioneered their way into the unyielding world of the Glasgow Teaching Hospitals.

Wingate took an initial house job in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, shortly followed by appointment to the University Department of Pathology under the eminent Professor John Teacher (1869 - 1930) and Thomas Bryce (1862 - 1946) helping to describe the Teacher-Bryce ovum No 2.

In 1933, Helen Wingate joined the staff of Arthur Jacobs’ newly formed Urology Unit at the Royal Infirmary. Arthur Jacobs (1899 - 1974) sent Wingate to internationally renowned endoscopic surgeon Hans Rubritius (1876  - 1943), at the Poliklinik Hospital in Vienna, to complete her post-graduate training in urology.

On returning to Glasgow, Wingate proceeded to become a Fellow of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1937, and in 1940 was appointed as Consultant General and Urological Surgeon to the Redlands Hospital for Women.

She married Alfred Lochead (1887 - 1972) in 1943, a well-known Glasgow architect and (rather unusually for the time) continued to work as a surgeon following her marriage, until her retirement from clinical work in 1962. Inspired by her husband, she developed a deep interest in architecture, which married well with her love of the Scottish countryside, nature and gardening.

The Museum Curator is grateful to Kassie Ball for her help in researching this article

The painting of Helen Wingate is by our artist in residence, Mary Garthwaite

Click here for more of her paintings

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