Lives of the fellows

George Stanley Graveson

b.10 May 1915 d.16 April 1976
BA Cantab(1936) MB BChir(1939) MRCP(1941) MA MD(1947) FRCP(1959)

Stanley Graveson, as he was known to his medical colleagues, was born at Farnworth, Lancashire, into a non-medical family. He was educated at Farnworth Grammar School, from whence he went to St John’s College, Cambridge. He studied for the Natural Science Tripos, taking Part II in pathology. His medical training was subsequently continued at Manchester, where he qualified in 1939.

Junior appointments were held at his own teaching hospital, the Manchester Royal Infirmary. In 1944 he joined the Royal Air Force, serving as a specialist in neuropsychiatry until 1947; leaving with the rank of wing commander. It was during his medical service in the Forces that he gained much of his experience for his MD thesis on Nutritional Neuropathy (Cambridge, 1947). He also changed his main interest from that of forensic psychiatry to neurology, which was to be his future work.

After demobilization, he spent a short period at the National Hospital, Queen Square, London, but, later in 1947, returned to Manchester as lecturer in neurology at the University. In 1950, he was appointed as the first consultant neurologist to the Western Area of the SW Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board; in 1959, this became the Wessex Regional Hospital Board. It was planned to have a neurosurgical service and he laid the foundations of this. Colleagues — medical, surgical, radiological, pathological, physiological — joined him in subsequent years and, in 1965, the Wessex Neurological Centre was opened at the General Hospital, Southampton. The subtle change in title was an indication of the persuasive charm he possessed, and the determination his colleagues had, to build a well co-ordinated and efficient unit.

Stanley Graveson took a major share of the service load in the region. He began by providing, alone, a service to Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Winchester, Salisbury and Dorchester. He had an exceptional capacity for work. Short of stature, quiet of manner, he possessed a North Country shrewdness and a great facility for quickly summing up the important points of a clinical problem. His incisive, quick mind was not satisfied with the diagnosis, but also with treatment and future management of the problem.

He was a most loyal colleague, always trying to see the best in people. This enabled him to get many people to work together and reach conclusions more quickly and happily than they would have done without his practical and sound advice. The widespread commitments of his appointment precluded him from attending many committee meetings, but he was the first chairman of the Cogwheel Division of Neurological Sciences in Southampton, where his quiet, calm manner and native common sense were of inestimable value.

He was a member of the committee on neurology of the Royal College of Physicians, and an examiner for the Membership. He was a member of the Association of British Neurologists and of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland. He had served on the council of the section of neurology of the Royal Society of Medicine, and on the council of the Association of British Neurologists, as well as being a member of the medical panel of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

His work was so absorbing that he had little time for hobbies, but he was well informed about local activities and, on holiday, was a keen walker, enjoying the Lakeland fells and maintaining a particular affection for the North Lancashire valleys.

In 1940, he married Margaret Joyce, daughter of Professor John Waugh Scott. They had three sons, one of whom became a general practitioner. His wife died in 1972, and he was survived by his second wife, Jeanne.

PK Robinson

[Brit.med.J., 1976, 1, 1223; Times, 28 Apr 1976]

(Volume VII, page 224)

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