Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


William Stobie (1886–1957)

Mayor of Oxford 1930/1

William Stobie was born in Edinburgh on 2 May 1886. He was the son of William Stobie senior.

At the time of the 1901 census William (14) and his father William Stobie senior (43) were living in Edinburgh with his grandparents William Stobie (69) and Margaret Stobie (64). They had a 15-year-old servant girl.

William was educated at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh, where he qualified as a doctor.

In 1909 Stobie came to Oxford as house physician to Sir William at the Radcliffe Infirmary, and from 1910 he was medical officer to the Oxford Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis.

On 3 June 1914 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, William Stobie (28), described as a Doctor of Medicine of 58 St John Street, Oxford, married Irene Beatrice Taylor (24) of Shelsley Walsh near Worcester: born on 26 August 1889, she was the daughter of Montagu Charles Harry Taylor, described as a gentleman. They had four children:

  • Jean Stobie (born in Oxford on 25 April 1915)
  • Irene M. Stobie (born in Oxford in 1917)
  • William Douglas Kerr Stobie (born in Oxford on 17 June 1920)
  • Alexander M. Stobie (born in Oxford in 1922).

During the First World War Stobie served as a Captain and later a Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps in France and Belgium as medical officer to the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and was twice mentioned in despatches. In 1919 he was awarded the OBE and was appointed a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Defence Force in 1919.

After the war he returned to his medical work in Oxford, proceeding to the M.D. of Edinburgh in 1921 and becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London the following year.

When the 40-bed Osler Pavilion for tuberculosis patients in Headington opened in 1926, Stobie was appointed assistant physician and in practice was in full charge from the start. He lived at Craigmillar, 382 Banbury Road.

In 1934 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and appointed Consultant in Tuberculosis to the City and County. He was also appointed Physician at the Oxford Eye Hospital. He was a Fellow of Exeter College and lectured on Respiratory Diseases and Medical Ophthalmology at the University.

In 1930 Stobie was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1930/1), and was influential in appointing Dr Williams as medical officer of health for Oxford and Dr Charles Hill (later Lord Hill)

At the end of his year of office, Stobie undertook the traditional perambulation of the city bounds, which had recently been greatly extended. Picture of Stobie crossing a bridge and in a punt.

Stobie was an Alderman from 1931 to 1934 and also served a term as Sheriff of Oxford.

His daughter Irene M. Stobie died in Oxford at the age of 19 in 1937.

His daughter Jean Stobie married Jacob K. Backus in Oxford near the beginning of 1939.

The 1939 Directory shows William Stobie, described as a physician, living at 382 Banbury Road with his wife Irene, their daughter Mrs Jean Backus, and their son William, who was a student.

His son Alexander M. Stobie married Stephanie E. K. Tomlins in 1944.

William Stobie retired in 1952.

† William Stobie was living at 9 Bertie Road, Cumnor when he died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on 2 March 1957.

His effects came to £33,127 8s. 10d., and his executors were Mrs Jean Backus and his son William, who was now an engineer.

His wife Irene Beatrice Stobie died on 24 November 1970 in the Bromley district and was cremated.

His son William Douglas Kerr Stobie married Pearl D. A. Hedges-Bott at Kensington in 1966. He died at 8 Thorpe Road, Chacombe, Banbury on 21 April 1985.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 13 July 1951, p. 8 (retirement)
  • Oxford Times, 8 March 1957, p. 6 (obituary and funeral)
  • A. H. T. Robb-Smith, A Short History of the Radcliffe Infirmary (United Oxford Hospitals, 1970), pp. 146–7
  • Who’s Who in Oxfordshire, p. 346

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 21 September, 2020

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