Sir John Charnley 1911-1982
John Charnley was born in Bury and educated at the grammar school and then went on to Manchester University. He was a bright student and passed his primary's whilst still an undergraduate. He became an FRCS in 1936 and worked at Salford Hospital before WW2 started.
He joined the military. After serving in Dunkirk he ran an
orthopaedic hospital in Cairo during the Second World, and modified the widely used Thomas splint, he altered the design so it was adjustable and was instrumental in the design of the "Tubruk Splint" which when used with POP was ideal for the conditions.
In the sixties, John Charnley was pioneering hip replacements at the
Wrightington Hospital in Wigan. The hip replacements were a success but many
patients were dying from infections. He was put in touch with Hugh Howorth (died
whose company specialised in clean air solutions for various industrial
processes, including the brewing industry. Howorth designed an airflow system to
filter air and direct sources of infection away from the patient.282
As a result of this partnership, the now famous
Charnley-Howorth clean air flow system is used worldwide and has saved many
We also know Charnley because of his innovative work on hip prosthesis, it bears
his name and is still widley used today. He was appointed Professor of
Orthopaedic surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1972 and received a C.B.E
and a Knighthood in 1977.
He insisted that surgeons who wished to master his
technique for hip arthroplasty should work with him, and many did, from all the
corners of the earth. This remarkable inventor and innovator died in August 1982
aged 70 a brilliant orthopaedic surgeon.219