Timothy Elias Rutter was born 19th February 1909 in Aberdare. His parents were Fred Rutter, from Sketty in Swansea, a chauffeur and motor mechanic, and Mary, née Jones, of Tudor Terrace, Aberdare. Initially the family lived at 3 Penbryn Street on the Gadlys, but moved later to 39, Seymour Street. Tim attended Robertstown elementary school, and entered Aberdare Boys County School in September 1921. He took his School Certificate Examination in 1926 with passes in English, history, French, mathematics, chemistry1, and book-keeping (with the last named with distinction). The standard gained in his examination qualified him for university matriculation exemption. A keen sportsman, he is pictured in the photograph of the Rugby 1st XV 1925–26 team elsewhere on this website2. Half way through his year in Form 6A, he left school at the end of the spring term in 1927, having gained a place at the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. In July 1932, he graduated M.B., Ch.B.
He subsequently held house appointments at Addenbrookes’ Hospital, Cambridge, the West London Hospital, and St. Mary’s, Paddington. Whilst in London during the summer of 1935, he married Nora Cicely Morton at St. Michael’s Church in Highgate.
In 1936 he returned to Edinburgh to take up a post as demonstrator in anatomy, progressing to lecturer in anatomy, and finally as a clinical tutor for the Scottish orthopaedic surgeon Mr. (later Sir) Walter Mercer.
An attack of meningitis prevented him from engaging in military service in WW2. Consequently he remained in Edinburgh serving as a tutor in clinical surgery and as an assistant in the urological department at the Royal Infirmary. He took the F.R.C.S.Ed. in 1943.
In 1947, Tim moved to the opposite end of the country to join the staff as a senior surgeon at the Royal Cornwall Infirmary in the centre of Truro. Whilst there he became chairman of the Medical Staff Committee and occupied positions on several other professional bodies.
His reputation amongst colleagues was one of an energetic individual with a vivid personality. He was known for his elegant attire, his passion for fast cars, his generosity and compassion for others. His unrelenting capacity for hard work was well known, and his E-type Jaguar was often to be seen very late at night in the hospital car park, with Tim doing his nightly round on the wards visiting his patients. Indeed, some of his colleagues attributed his early death to an inability to ease off from his self-imposed heavy workload.
Tim died in Truro on May 7th 1966 at the age of 57. He was survived by his wife and three sons.
Not long after he died, the new hospital at Treliske was opened, with the formal opening ceremony taking place in 1968. The Royal Cornwall Infirmary began to transfer its services to Treliske in 1992 and it finally closed in 1999.
1. Whilst it might be expected that Tim would have taken biology with his chemistry, this was not possible as the subject was not taught at the school in the 1920s. Botany was taught up to 1913, but was dropped from the curriculum of the boys’ school when single sex education was introduced in 1913. Biological subjects returned to the curriculum in the 1930s with the appointment to the staff of botanist Harold Ivor James.
2. Also in this team photograph, in the back row is Arthur Probert, later to become the Member of Parliament for Aberdare.
The British Medical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 5500 (Jun. 4, 1966), pp. 1427-1428
CR, May 2023