Wade Professorship

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26 Jan 2024

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) expresses gratitude for the generous support of the Sir Henry Wade’s Pilmuir Trust. Their support has significantly contributed to enhancing our opportunities within the Research, Grants, and Fellowship Committee.


The Wade Chair of Surgical Education Research

The Wade Chair of Surgical Education Research and the Professor of Surgical Education and Innovation are the two Chairs appointed by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), entrusted with overseeing the Surgical Education Research and Innovation Lab (SERI Lab) established in collaboration with NHS Highland. This virtual hub will serve as a platform for healthcare professionals to share and develop new ideas and methods. It will enable surgical professionals to explore advancements in surgical training technology, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. These innovations will play a crucial role in shaping the future of surgical practice over the next 30 years.


Pilmuir Trust

David Tolley, Past President and Chair of the Pilmuir Trust, which provided funding for the new hub, said:

Sir Henry Wade’s Pilmuir Trust has, in recent years, funded the establishment of the Wade surgical anatomy teaching programme and provided additional funding for a capacity building project for urological surgery in Myanmar, reflecting Wade’s interests in teaching and urology. The Trustees, in acknowledging Sir Henry’s early recognition of the important role which science plays in the advancement of surgery, are now delighted to support a major new initiative by funding the establishment of the Wade Chair of Surgical Education Research. We are glad to be associated with this avant-garde project which places the College in the vanguard of an important area of activity.


Sir Henry Wade

Sir Henry Wade (1876-1955) was a Scottish surgeon and former President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd). Born in Falkirk, he started his career as House Physician at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh in 1899 after graduating from studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh. That same year, he signed up to be a surgical volunteer after the outbreak of the Boer War and served as a civilian surgeon with the Royal Scots Fusiliers. After his return home in 1902, he became clinical tutor at the University of Edinburgh, along with being appointed as a demonstrator in anatomy and pathology.

During the First World War, Sir Henry Wade was deployed to Cairo as a captain in the Field Ambulance of the Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade. In Palestine, his promotion of the use of the Thomas splint for gunshot fractures to the femur resulted in the fatality rate of this injury reducing from 40% to 16%. He returned to Edinburgh after the First World War, and developed facilities for urological surgery that would treat patients with intractable forms of renal and urinary bladder cancer. His work to advance urology led to the adoption of contrast pyelography and x-ray diagnostics.

Sir Henry Wades’ history with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh began in 1903 after his appointment as museum conservator and becoming a Fellow. In 1935, he was elected President of the College, serving a two-year term. The Surgeons’ Hall Museums hold the Henry Wade collection of his donated anatomical specimens, mainly of the urinary system. He retired in 1939, spending time in his country home of Pilmuir House in Haddington, East Lothian.  However, he continued to be involved in medicine by taking on the role of Director of Surgical Services at the Emergency Medical Service at Bangour General Hospital.

Read more about Sir Henry Wade’s life and work here.

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