Dr Harold Sigismund Sington

Personal details

Dr Harold Sigismund Sington MD FFARCS FRSEd MRCS LRCP DA

31/10/1878 to 14/02/1956

Place of birth: Higher Broughton, Manchester

Nationality: British

CRN: 715275

Also known as: Harold

Education and qualifications

General education

Cheltenham College, winning several prizes; Caius College, Cambridge and St. Thomas’s Hospital

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MD, Brussels, 1908

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After qualifying Sington was house physician at St Thomas’s Hospital where he was also a clinical assistant, and in 1907 was house physician at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street (GOS). He joined a general practice in Bayswater, but soon specialised, becoming staff anaesthetist at GOS in 1908. Served as Surgeon Lieutenant, RN throughout WW1, sailing on the Pacific Patrol and Atlantic Convoys. He was appointed senior anaesthetist at GOS in 1919 and held the same role at the Royal Ear Hospital, Soho until retirement in 1938 under the ‘25 year rule’.

Professional interests and activities

Sington pioneered a more humane approach to children, establishing the use of premedication, suggestion and other means to reduce their terrors. He wrote widely on anaesthesia for children, produced an AAGBI video (V123/124 – now in the Welcome museum) on the use of ethyl chloride for dentistry, and was awarded the DA ‘without examination’ in 1935. He contributed to the organisations of the specialty, being an early (1935-42) member of AAGBI Council and its honorary treasurer for 1938-41. He was also president of the Section of Anaesthetics, RSM for 1939-40. One of the more notable features of his life came after retirement. Having served throughout WW1 it might be thought that he had done his share, but he sought to rejoin the Navy at the outbreak of WW2. Turned down because of his age he tried the RAMC and, “utterly refusing to take ‘No’ for an answer”, was commissioned and spent the war as a specialist anaesthetist, mostly in Edinburgh (at the Castle), rising to the rank of Major. In 1949 this contribution was recognised by election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, so far a unique honour for an anaesthetist.

Other biographical information

The son of a civil engineer, Sington was a keen cricketer and all round sportsman who took a great interest in his old school’s society and Freemasonry (in which he rose to high office). Described as a true pioneer and a loveable, simple man who was always true to his loyalties, he was predeceased by his son (at age 12 - a bed was endowed at GOS in his memory) and his wife, but survived by his daughter and grandchildren in New Zealand.

Author and Sources

Author: Professor DJ Hatch and Dr WJ Glover.

Sources and any other comments: Obituaries. BMJ 1956; 1:463-4 / Anaesthesia 1956; 11: 185 / RSE Year Book 1955-6; 47-8 Archivists at Cheltenham College, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge and The Royal Society of Edinburgh all provided much helpful information.