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Erda Pamela Moffitt

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 16 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:e8037
  1. Gin Moffitt

The daughter of Caymanian parents and the eldest of nine children, Erda Pamela Moffitt (nee Bodden and known as “Pam”) was a conspicuously bright child who was admitted to secondary school at the age of 7, when her primary teachers asked her mother “to remove this precocious pupil” whom they had nothing left to teach. She continued a brilliant school career and ultimately gained a place to study medicine at the Royal Free Hospital.

She arrived in London in 1947 and was shocked at the poverty and destruction that greeted her. She recalled snow coming in through her host family’s bathroom ceiling as a result of bomb damage, and there being no materials available for its repair. In contrast, she greatly appreciated the relative luxury of accommodation in college hall where she recalled that her room had two doors, one being the entrance, and, to her delight, the other access to a walk-in wardrobe. Unintentionally, in that age of austerity, her appearance caused great offence. Always passionate about clothes, she made no attempt to conceal the beautiful and “extravagant” dresses that her mother had sewed for her.

While in London she enjoyed the museums, exhibitions, and theatres. She was able to witness the procession of the royal wedding in 1947, when a wealthy friend from the medical school invited her to watch the pageant from the third floor window of her father’s Pall Mall office. Ultimately however, an absence of any former scientific education …

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