Rheumatologist who grew up in Dublin’s Jewish community

Douglas Golding: December 15th, 1931 - September 25th, 2015


Douglas Golding, who has died aged 83, was a distinguished Dublin-born consultant rheumatologist.

His father was a GP, and his mother the founder of a bridal wear shop – The French Shop on Wicklow Street, the first of its kind in Ireland and very popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

Golding grew up in Foxrock, the eldest of three brothers: the family were prominent members of Dublin’s Jewish community, attending Adelaide Road synagogue.

Douglas Golding attended the High School in Dublin and subsequently St Columba’s, in Whitechurch in the Dublin mountains, as a boarder.

He then went on to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin, where, by a strange stroke of fate, he became friendly with Andreas Hempel, the son of the German Reich’s envoy to Dublin, Eduard Hempel.

The two boys shared a love of music, and Douglas was sometimes able to assist Andreas Hempel, who suffered from polio, with his physical disabilities.

Canadian internship

While working as a registrar in Newcastle, he jointly published a prescient paper in the British Medical Journal describing, for the first time, the condition of psoriatic arthritis in patients with no evidence of the skin disease: this concept was initially derided but eventually accepted and widely established.

He was appointed consultant rheumatologist at a young age to the East Hertfordshire and West Essex group of hospitals, centred at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow in Essex.

He remained there throughout his professional life, and was active in postgraduate training, writing and editing books for students, trainees and GPs.

His Synopsis of Rheumatic Disease became a standard textbook for postgraduate students and was translated into a number of languages, including Japanese.

Dublin meeting

Delegates from abroad remembered legendary Irish hospitality, with dinner at the Royal Hibernian Academy, outings around Dublin and an evening at the Abbey Theatre to see a performance of a play by Hugh Leonard.

Douglas Golding was also a visiting lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, as well as holding office with medical societies in London.

His wife, Hinda Crivon, was also from a well-known Irish Jewish family. Her father, Samuel, was a senior counsel at the Dublin bar and her brother Robert represented Ireland as deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe at its headquarters in Strasbourg.

The couple first met when she was only 15 and he was 27: they married four years later, had two sons, and remained married for 52 years, sharing a love of music and the arts.

Hinda Golding founded the art department of a private Jewish school, Immanuel College, at Elstree in Hertfordshire and remains a valued teacher of art history.

Douglas Golding’s last decades were marred by progressive medical problems, despite which he was encouraged to live life as fully as possible by Hinda, his principal carer.

He always loved the work of Irish writers, and his Romanian care assistant, Alina, had the unique experience of escorting him to the University of the Third Age to study James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

He is survived by Hinda, his brother Bobby, (a retired paediatric radiologist), two sons and four grandchildren. His youngest brother, Graham, a senior lecturer in European law at UCD, predeceased him.