Charles Walter Suckling - Bibliography from Charles Walter Suckling 24 July 1920 — 30 October 2013
2018-12-04T07:58:50Z (GMT) by
Charles Walter Suckling (1920–2013) is most remembered for being the discoverer of the inhalant anaesthetic, Halothane, which revolutionized anaesthesia and surgical practice. He was born in Teddington, Middlesex, but grew up largely in Wallasey, Merseyside, where his father was a cargo superintendent for imports from Australia produced by one of Charles’ maternal uncle's cooperatives. Charles was educated at Oldershaw Grammar School, Wallasey, and the University of Liverpool, where he obtained a first class honours degree in chemistry (1939). With this qualification he was directed to carry out national service in the chemical industry at ICI in Widnes and was subsequently able to obtain a scholarship to work towards a PhD at the University of Liverpool (1949), which was awarded for the structural elucidation of the natural product, santal, by classical organic chemical methods. The project leading to the discovery of Halothane was begun in 1951 at ICI's Widnes Laboratory and was one of the first examples of rational drug design; Halothane reached clinical practice in 1956. This and other industrial research innovations were recognized by his election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1978. Charles’ career at ICI took him into both scientific and commercial management roles including chairman of Paints Division and general manager of Research and Technology, a company-wide brief at head office, Millbank. After retiring from ICI (1982) he undertook many public service and charitable tasks including membership of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, for which he was awarded the CBE, and council positions on the Royal College of Anaesthetists and Royal College of Art and Design. Charles retired from professional life fully in 2001. In 1946 he married Eleanor Margaret Watterson; their family comprised twin sons, both of whom became professional scientists, and a daughter, who became a medical doctor. Charles died at Knebworth, Hertfordshire, in 2013.