Dr Arthur Ernest Williams Idris

Personal Details

Dr Arthur Ernest Williams Idris FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

09/09/1885 to 24/05/1960

Place of birth: St Pancras, London, England

Nationality: British

CRN: 715468

Also known as: Ernest (known as ‘Pop’ by students at the Middlesex Hospital)

Education and qualifications

General education

Polytechnic, Regent St, London; University College Hospital Medical School

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship



Other qualification(s)


Professional life and career

Postgraduate career 

First appointments were as house physician and house surgeon, Great Northern Central Hospital, after which he was Lieutenant/Captain in the RAMC, working as medical officer at a PoW camp and then RMO, Queen Mary’s Hospital, Stratford. At the end of WW1 he was civil surgeon to Mile End Military Hospital, becoming assistant medical officer, City & Westminster Infirmary in 1920, and then assistant anaesthetist at the Middlesex Hospital in 1922. He was also anaesthetist to both the latter’s dental department and Hampstead General, subsequently working at other hospitals. He was appointed to the Middlesex Hospital’s honorary staff in 1931, but during WW2 was posted to the EMS hospital, Tyndal House, Aylesbury, afterwards returning to the Middlesex and becoming senior anaesthetist in 1946. He was appointed  consultant anaesthetist to the Ministry of Pensions in 1950, and retired in 1954.

Professional interests and activities 

Wounded, and left slightly lame, during WW1, he was further injured by an operating theatre fire and explosion in the early 1930s. Techniques considered fully acceptable were in use so it focused the specialty’s attention on the problem, but he was badly burned and his deafness was exacerbated. Trained in ‘old style’ techniques, at which he was expert, he was receptive to new ideas such as endotracheal and intravenous anaesthesia, also introducing anaesthetic machines to the Middlesex. He was particularly known for the instruction, advice and support given to trainees. Awarded the DA(RCP&S) without examination in 1935, his non-clinical activities were limited later on by increasing deafness.

Other biographical information 

Married Alicia Mary McGahey, but no children have been identified. In retirement he focused on his garden and collection of antique furniture, being an expert carpenter and cabinet maker.

Author and sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. Anaesthesia 1960; 15: 442-3 (This obituary says that he had been resident anaesthetist at the Middlesex, but no reference is made to such appointment in his Medical Directory entries) | Ancestry.co.uk | Medical Directory | Archives of University College, London