Lives of the fellows

Redvers Nöel Ironside

b.23 December 1899 d.18 July 1968
MB ChB Aberd(1922) MRCP(1925) FRCP(1936)

Redvers Ironside, the second of the three sons and four children of William Dalton Ironside, a civil engineer of Aberdeen and his wife Emma Storrier, née Yates, spent the first nine days of his life in the nineteenth century. He was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and after joining the Royal Artillery in 1917 he proceeded after the war to qualify with first class honours (Murray scholar and gold medal). Ashley Mackintosh, who served as his model physician, Sir James Purves Stewart, his examiner, and George Riddoch encouraged an interest in neurology, so after residencies at the Westminster and West London Hospitals, and at The National Hospitals (Queen Square) he was appointed neurological registrar at Guy’s Hospital (1927-32).

As a consultant, he was most successful, serving on the staffs of several hospitals including the West London (1926-1963) and the Hospital of St. John & St. Elizabeth (1927-1955). He was appointed to the staff of Maida Vale Hospital in 1935 (retiring in 1965) and was dean there (1948-50): he was adviser in studies at Maida Vale in the Institute of Neurology (1950-55). In 1939 he was appointed consultant to the LCC in neurology and in 1941 to their mental hospitals. A long illness in 1935 had interrupted his career, but in 1939 he was able to volunteer for the RAF, being promoted to air commodore in 1944 after service in North Africa.

He was president of the Neurological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine (1956-7), Master of the Society of Apothecaries (1963-4), and a member of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (elected 1932). Impairment of health had necessitated retirement from some of his appointments but he was able to fill a vacancy as neurologist at Charing Cross Hospital (1959-65), a post which he greatly enjoyed.

Clean-shaven, blonde and rather below average height, he retained his youthful appearance. Although modest, shy and serious by nature he had a fine sense of humour and his somewhat unrestrained bursts of laughter could be highly infectious. His mouth showed a Celtic determination but his kindly eyes sought at once the best in everyone. As doctor, as chairman of committee and to the many who sought his advice on personal problems, he was known as one who gave his whole attention and wise counsel. He wrote little but well. He read and travelled widely, absorbing the sunshine and cultures of Mediterranean countries, which in conversation he shared with his friends. He was a good cook and a genial host. In his 3rd floor flat at 22 Wimpole Street his table and silver, a well displayed collection of Leeds cream-ware, and the music on his boudoir piano revealed his varied interests. He enjoyed his membership of the English Ceramic Circle.

He was generous, but always unobtrusively so, and the College was one of his beneficiaries. He died suddenly in Eastbourne while recovering, contentedly and gratefully, from an acutely painful heart attack. He was unmarried.

William McMenemey

[Brit.med.J., 1968, 2, 256; Lancet, 1968, 2, 224, 292; Times, 23 July 1968; Aberd. University Review, 1969, 43, 41-43; Aberd. Grammar School Mag. 1968, 15; Inst. Neurology, Annual Report, 1967-1968, 10; RCP Annual Address, 1969, 10-11; Trans. Engl. Ceramic Circle, 1969, 7, 153-4]

(Volume VI, page 254)

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