Wade, Willoughby Francis (DNB12)

WADE, SIR WILLOUGHBY FRANCIS (1827–1906), physician, born at Bray, co. Wicklow, on 31 Aug. 1827, was eldest son of Edward Michael Wade (d. 1867), vicar of Holy Trinity, Derby, by his wife, the daughter of Mr. Justice Fox of the Irish bench. Wade counted Field-Marshal George Wade [q. v.], the military engineer, as a member of his family, and Sir Thomas Francis Wade [q. v.], ambassador to Pekin, was his cousin. After early education at Brighton, Wade entered Rugby school on 13 Aug. 1842, and passed to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1845. There he graduated B.A. in 1849 and M.B. in 1851, after being apprenticed to Douglas Fox, F.R.C.S. England, of Derby (brother of Sir Charles Fox [q. v.], the engineer). He was admitted M.R.C.S., England, and a licentiate in midwifery of Dublin in 1851 and M.R.C.P., London, in 1859, becoming F.R.C.P. in 1871. Soon after graduating in medicine, Wade was appointed resident physician and medical tutor at the Birmingham general hospital, and he filled this post until 1855, when he settled in practice in the town. In 1857 he was appointed physician to the Birmingham general dispensary, and in 1860 to the Queen's Hospital, Birmingham, soon becoming senior physician to the hospital and professor of the practice of physic and clinical medicine at Queen's College. In 1865 he was elected physician to the general Birmingham hospital, and remained upon its staff until April 1892. He was elected consulting physician on his retirement. He long enjoyed a large consulting practice in and around Birmingham. He became J. P. for Warwickshire, and in 1896 was knighted and was made hon. M.D. of Dublin. He retired from practice in 1898 and went to Florence, where he lived at Villa Monforte, Maiano, until 1905. He then removed to Rome, where he died on 28 May 1906.

He married in 1880 his cousin Augusta Frances, daughter of Sir John Power, second baronet, of Kilfane, but had no children. Wade was more interested in the problems of general pathology than in clinical medicine. But he was the first to draw attention to the presence of albuminuria in diphtheria, showing that the disease was more than a local affection of the throat and nose, his chief claim to remembrance lies in his active control of the British Medical Association when that body still had its central offices in the midlands. He was elected to the council by the Birmingham branch in 1865; he succeeded George Callender as chairman of the scientific grants committee in 1880; he served as treasurer from 1882 to 1885, and as president at the Birmingham meeting in 1890, when in an address on medical education, he pointed out the insufficiency of the scientific knowledge required of medical students. He saw the members grow from 2500 to 20,000, with central offices in London, and on his initiative the association endowed the research scholarships which have proved a valuable help to the progress of medicine.

Besides contributions to scientific journals Wade was author of: 1. 'Notes on Clinical Medicine’: No. 1. On diphtheria; No. 2. On a case of aortic aneurism, Birmingham, 1863; No. 3. On rheumatic fever, Birmingham, 1864. 2. 'On Gout as a Peripheral Neurosis,' 12mo., London and Birmingham, 1893.

[Brit. Med. Journal, 1906, i. 1379 (with portrait).]

D’A. P.