Lives of the fellows

Arthur Jordan

b.20 April 1908 d.3 September 1975
Docteur de l’Université de Strasbourg(1931) MRCS LRCP(1937) MB BS Lond(1938) MRCP(1942) FRCP(1960) FRIC(1961) FRCPath(1964)

Arthur Jordan was born at Winton, Lancashire, the son of Albert Jordan, a textile machinery exporter in Manchester. The family soon moved to Mulhouse (Haut Rhin). His mother was Harriet, daughter of Jeremiah Lee, a belt and braces manufacturer. Jordan was educated privately because of the frequent family moves and in 1924 at the Ecole Supérieure de Chimie, Mulhouse, he gained an assistantship in inorganic chemistry and did research work leading to the Docteur degree at Strasbourg, followed by appointment as a works chemist, 1930-32. He entered St Bartholomew’s Medical School, London, in 1933, where he was awarded a Junior Scholarship and won the Harvey Prize in 1934. He held the Lawrence Research Scholarship, 1938, after being house physician at Bart’s, 1937-38. He was then successively junior demonstrator of Chemical Pathology at Bart’s, 1938-39, physician, Eastern Dispensary, London El, and part-time assistant pathologist, Hill End EMS Hospital, St Alban’s, 1939-42.

He served in the RAMC from 1942-46 as a pathologist in North Africa, Italy and Singapore, where he ended as Colonel and Deputy Director of Pathology, South-East Asia Command.

After the war, Jordan was appointed Consultant Chemical Pathologist, United Sheffield Hospitals, 1946-73; Honorary Consultant, Sheffield Regional Hospital Board and Adviser in Chemical Pathology, Derby, 1949-64; and Honorary Consultant, Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, 1970. His university appointments included Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry in 1948, and Honorary Director in the newly-formed Department of Chemical Pathology, 1963. As first Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Chemical Pathology, he was given the title of Professor Associate in Chemical Pathology in the University of Sheffield in 1970.

He was very active in the Association of Clinical Pathologists, serving on committees and Council, and in 1964-65 as President. He was Editor to the Association of Clinical Biochemistry, 1954-55 and was himself the author of many scientific papers.

Jordan played his part in the NHS as a member of the Central Pathological Committee, DHSS, 1959-69; member of the Laboratory Equipment and Methods Advisory Group, DHSS, 1966-70; member of the Board of Governors, United Sheffield Hospitals, 1959-61, and member, Deputy Chairman and Chairman, Joint Committee on Senior Registrars, Sheffield Regional Hospital Board.

Arthur Jordan established the specialty of Chemical Pathology within the principal teaching hospital units of the University of Sheffield. His department occupied scattered laboratories in various hospitals. There was no physical department available to him at this time but he played an important part in the planning of the Department which his successor now occupies in the new medical school building of the Hallamshire Hospital.

Though not a great research worker, he encouraged his juniors actively in a wide range of chemical investigations. The fact that eight PhD students worked in his Department and obtained their degrees is evidence of his power to supervise the research programmes chosen by others. Jordan was instrumental in adopting automation in the techniques of chemical pathology, and as computers became available, his Sheffield laboratory was chosen by the Department of Health and Social Security for the installation of an on-line computer.

Arthur Jordan was interested in the teaching of medical students both by lecture and by laboratory demonstrations. He was also personally interested in the welfare of students and he was, for a number of years, tutor to a group of students who met to discuss their personal problems and careers. Arthur had a warmth of character coupled with a great sense of humour which made him an ideal companion and colleague during the War. No one who served in the 95th General Hospital during their first season in Algiers will ever forget the khaki-clad figure with rather too-long shorts, and a countenance dripping with sweat, moving from specimen to specimen in the adapted quarters of the chateau occupied by the Hospital.

Arthur had faith, vision and a sense of service to the community and to his chosen profession which made him a pioneer in the growth of specialist pathology in the immediate post-war development of the provincial health service. He had an immense degree of patience which enabled him to overcome the considerable burden of deafness, and later difficulties of a systemic character, without complaint and a minimum of interruption to his work. He owed much to a stable background created by his wife, Georgina, the daughter of a Regular Army Officer, with whom he shared many interests and who supported him throughout his ailments. They had a son and a daughter. He was an able linguist who spoke French with great fluency.

Sir Charles Stuart-Harris
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[, 1975, 3, 658; Lancet, 1975, 2, 565; Times, 5 Sept 1975]

(Volume VI, page 260)

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