Kenneth McKee

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Kenneth McKee
Born (1906-01-05)5 January 1906
Ilford, Essex, England
Died 18 July 1991(1991-07-18) (aged 85)
Education St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College
Medical career
Profession Orthopedics
Institutions Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Research Hip replacement

George Kenneth "Ken" McKee (5 January 1906 – 18 July 1991) was an English orthopaedist, one of the pioneers of hip replacement surgery in the 1950s.[1] He is now honoured with a bust at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ken's father had been a medical practitioner in Northern Ireland in the late 19th century but had migrated to England around 1900. Ken was born in Ilford, Essex, in 1906, attending Chigwell School and then studying medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College. He received his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1934. He worked at the Sheffield Royal Hospital before being appointed consultant in orthopaedics at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (N&N) in 1939.

Hip replacement work[edit]

Ken moved to Norfolk in 1939. He worked in Norwich at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (N&N), which he joined in 1939 as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon,[3] going on to pioneer primary hip replacements in the 1950s. According to Hugh Phillips, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 2004–2005, "Ken McKee started experimenting with model hip joints in 1938, working with dentists and an engineering firm in Norwich to create the original brass mock-ups. He carried out his first primary hip replacement on a patient in 1951, before Sir John Charnley perfected his own version."[2]

He retired to Tacolneston in the 1970s.


In 1972 in recognition of his services to orthopaedic surgery he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire and three years later received an Honorary Doctorate of Science of Cambridge University. He was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1986.

In addition to a bronze bust cast by his daughter-in-law, the Belgian sculptor Myriam De Kepper, Ken McKee's work at the hospital is remembered with a residence block, McKee House, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital[3] and a road, Kenneth McKee Plain, built on the former N&N site.[4]


  1. ^ "Tacolneston village, Norfolk". Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Presentation to honour the pioneer of hip replacements". Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "New £5.5 million residences opened". 3 March 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  4. ^ "Historical hospital workers honoured". BBC. 29 November 2003. Retrieved 25 June 2009.