Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Now a growing department with more than 400 people spread across three main sites, NDORMS owes its existence to Gathorne R. Girdlestone who became the first Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, in 1937. However, Professor Girdlestone’s history at Oxford had begun much earlier.

Now a growing department with more than 400 people spread across three main sites, NDORMS owes its existence to Gathorne R. Girdlestone who became the first Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, in 1937. However, Professor Girdlestone's history at Oxford had begun much earlier.

With the outbreak of World War I, the wounded soldiers returning from the front lines of one of the deadliest conflicts the world has ever seen needed treatment. In 1914, the Wingfield Convalescent Home - now the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) site - joined the British war efforts and became a sectional military hospital under the 3rd Southern General Hospital, which was based in the Examination Schools in High Street.

Young surgeon G. R. Girdlestone was posted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital as a Captain in 1915; he soon realised the need for a fresh-air annexe to the Examination Schools, to fight the risk of infection. He found the ideal place for this in Headington, next to the Wingfield Convalescent Home. By 1916 the wooden huts that were to shape the layout of the hospital until the 1930s, had been erected.

It was also in 1916 that G. R. Girdlestone was put in charge of the Wingfield Convalescent Home, which included an orthopaedic workshop and operating theatre. The hospital remained part of the War Office until the end of the war, in 1918.

An outstanding surgeon and clinician, Girdlestone was also an excellent administrator with great vision. After the war, he joined the hospital committee and led the development of clinical excellence in orthopaedic treatment worldwide - particularly for children - at what would later become the NOC.

The beginning of Girdlestone's friendship with Sir William Morris, later Lord Nuffield, marked a further milestone in the history of orthopaedics in Oxford. In 1933, still under Girdlestone's leadership and after major rebuilding of the hospital made possible by Lord Nuffield, the Wingfield Convalescent Home became the Wingfield-Morris Hospital, a world famous specialist orthopaedic hospital.

It would come as no surprise that when Lord Nuffield endowed £2 million for five clinical chairs at Oxford University, Girdlestone became the first Nuffield Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and laid the foundation for what NDORMS is today.

Similar stories

Plaster cast or metal pins to treat a broken wrist? The results are in.

An Oxford study published in The BMJ has found the use of metal K-wires (commonly known as ‘pins’) to hold broken wrist bones in place while they heal are no better than a traditional moulded plaster cast.

Professor Chris Buckley has joined the Kennedy Institute as Director of Clinical Research

Moving to the University of Oxford with the Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) will help accelerate the discovery of new treatments for inflammatory diseases.

Behind enemy lines: research finds a new ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease hidden within the vessel wall itself

A new study reveals the existence of a powerful ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease, a protective subset of vascular macrophages expressing the C-type lectin receptor CLEC4A2, a molecule which fosters “good” macrophage behaviour within the vessel wall.

More effective treatment found for patients hospitalised with COVID-19 pneumonia

A proof-of-concept trial involving Oxford researchers has identified a drug that may benefit some patients hospitalised with COVID-19 pneumonia.

NDORMS researchers honoured in the Recognition Of Distinction Scheme 2021

Sally Hopewell and John Christianson have been awarded the title of ‘Full Professor’ in the University of Oxford’s Recognition Of Distinction Scheme 2021.

New Oxford-Zeiss Centre of Excellence opens at the University of Oxford

The Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology and the Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine announce the launch of the Oxford-Zeiss Centre of Excellence, providing state-of-the-art imaging technologies to lead future discoveries in global health and disease.