Harold Black was born in Belfast and educated at the Belfast Methodist College. Thereafter he became a medical student at the Queen’s University of Belfast where his high intellectual qualities were quickly manifest. He was Scholar in his 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years, graduated with first class honours and won an exhibition in 1910 and was awarded the Malcolm and Coulter prizes. After holding house officer appointments at the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Fever Hospital in Belfast he was elected Travelling Medical Scholar by the Queen’s University, dividing his time between Paris, Munich and Vienna. In 1913 he was appointed consultant radiologist to the Queen’s Hospital in Birmingham and he spent the rest of his working life in the Birmingham Teaching Hospitals and as a Lecturer in Radiology in the University of Birmingham. He was elected a Member of the College in 1914 and obtained his MD with commendation the following year. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1936 and was a Foundation Fellow of the Faculty of Radiologists. The University of Birmingham honoured him by appointing him Ingleby Lecturer in 1923.
Black was a man of enormous personal charm and wide culture. A bibliophile and littérateur with a wonderful sense of humour and a keen interest in everything around him, he was a lively and interesting companion. His professional career spanned the period in which radiology was an emerging specialty but radiologists half a century later could not match his diagnostic skill. His expertise stemmed entirely from high intelligence, wide knowledge of medicine and sound common sense. Always punctual, always courteous and always calm, he had an enormous practice, a host of friends and no enemies.
Black had three children, a son who died in early adult life - a loss which Black never ceased to feel; another son who became Principal of Bedford College and a daughter who after marriage resided in London. To be near her, after retirement in 1953, Black went to live in Dulwich Village where he enjoyed over twenty years of peace and tranquillity.