Sir Norman Jeffcoate: Extracts from an Autobiography

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Copy of a typed autobiography (168pp) by Sir Norman Jeffcoate, covering his professional and personal life, including his medical studies at Liverpool Medical School (1924-1929), first position as locum to a general practice in Longton, Staffordshire (1929), as house surgeon to Blair-Bell and other positions at Liverpool Royal Infirmary (1929 - 1932), posts as assistant honorary consultant at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, David Lewis Northern Hospital, Victoria Central Hospital, Wallasey and Liverpool Women's Hospital (1932 - 1940s), and appointment as first full-time Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Liverpool (1945 - 1972), together with notes on his experiences of medical school and social life as a student, opinions on homosexuality and abortion, memories of William Blair Bell as lecturer, surgeon and mentor, his passion for rugby, Blair-Bell's retirement celebrated by the GVS (1931), examination for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Membership of the British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (1932), research work at the University of Liverpool, earning extra money by lecturing to students and midwives (1940s), trip to North America with the Gynaecological Club in August 1939, wartime experiences in Liverpool, experiences in private practice, the development of modern obstetrical management and establishment of the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths (1952), development of the maternity units in Liverpool, contributions made by Liverpool men to the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology, his own interest and research into infertility, professional overseas visits, notes on lecturing, writing and examining, and anecdotes about his time as President of the RCOG and retirement.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Norman Arthur Jeffcoate (1907-1992) specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology after qualifying with First Class Honours from Liverpool University in 1929. From 1930 until his retirement in 1972 he served on the teaching staff of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. By 1933 he had been appointed Honorary Consultant at the Women's Hospital, Liverpool Maternity Hospital and the David Lewis Northern Hospital. In 1945 he became the University's first full-time Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He was President of the RCOG from 1969-1972 and was knighted in 1970.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers by appointment, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. mailto: archives@rcog.org.uk

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Penny Hutchins, College Archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is vested in the estate of Sir Norman Jeffcoate until 2052.

Reproductions are available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Custodial History

After Sir Norman Jeffcoate's retirement he composed an autobiography. It was not intended for publication, but he presented a version of the text to Professor B M Hibbard to be typed. In due course this was placed in the College's Archives, so that it could be made available to Fellows and Members and serious researchers. Jeffcoate died before the preparation of the typescript had been completed. Another copy of the autobiography is in the possession of Jeffcoate's son, Professor Stephen Jeffcoate, and it is possible that there are some textual variants between the two copies. These variants can in part be attributed to failures in the electronic storage and transmission of the text. However in a letter of October 1991 (S28/5) Jeffcoate writes of having passed his 'autobiography, or parts of it' to Professor Hibbard. It is therefore possible that other parts, and perhaps, a copy of those parts passed to Hibbard, were retained by Jeffcoate, and inherited by Stephen Jeffcoate in 1993. In a letter to the College Archivist dated 12 August 1991 Jeffcoate wrote that the autobiography was written 'a few years ago'

Related Material

Related material also held at the RCOG may be found at the following references:

RCOG/A4/14 Sir Norman Jeffcoate's papers as President of the College

S28 Personal papers of Sir Norman Jeffcoate