Lives of the fellows

Alfred Edward Barnes

b.3 June 1881 d.23 October 1956
MB BS Lond(1903) MB ChB Sheff(1908) MRCP(1907) FRCP(1921)

Alfred Edward Barnes was the eldest son of Josiah Barnes and Emma Jefferson. From the Grammar School and the University College of Sheffield he qualified as M.B., B.S. (Lond.). For most of his professional life he was on the staff of the Sheffield Royal Infirmary as, in turn, house physician, medical registrar, honorary physician and senior physician, which last post he held from 1920 till his retirement at the age of sixty-five in 1946.

When Sheffield University obtained its own charter Barnes was granted the degrees of M.B., Ch.B., one year after becoming a Member of the College, and after holding the posts of medical tutor and lecturer in materia medica and pharmacology, and medicine, was appointed professor of medicine in 1936.

His service in Salonika in World War I brought him a life-long interest in tropical medicine, but his outlook was never narrow; he made special studies of cardiology, diabetes and gastro-intestinal disease. The result was that Barnes, never a showman but always an honest and logical clinician, taught his students that the individual patient was the centre of every painstaking investigation and treatment.

This explains why he was, with J. B. Leathes, the then professor of physiology, instrumental in creating the chair of experimental medicine, first occupied by Edward Mellanby, and in ensuring that for its practical work it should have beds in the Royal Infirmary.

Barnes had wide interests outside medicine, in history, archaeology and politics, and was a strong protagonist of a National Health Service. In 1911 he married Jessie Morrison, of Kirriemuir, and had two sons, one to become director of the toxicology research unit of the Medical Research Council and the other registrar of the Glasgow School of Art. He died at Helensburgh to which he had retired ten years before, at the age of seventy-five.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1956, 2, 1060-61 (p); Lancet, 1956, 2, 947-8 (p), 1002, 1055; Times, 26 Oct. 1956.]

(Volume V, page 28)

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