Lives of the fellows

Walter Sydney Lazarus-Barlow

b.18 July 1865 d.15 January 1950
BA Cantab(1887) MB BCh(1889) MD FRCP(1901)

Walter Sydney Lazarus, who added his mother’s surname to his own on his twenty-first birthday, was the son of John Barrett Lazarus and his wife Martha. He could trace his ancestry through his father - a Russian Jew who had emigrated to England on his conversion to Christianity - to Moses Maimonides, physician to Saladin, and on his mother’s side to Sarah Trimmer, friend of Dr. Johnson. He was educated at the City of London School and Downing College, Cambridge, and took the Cambridge degrees of B.A. in 1887 and M.B, B.Ch, in 1889. After holding junior posts at the Brompton and St. George’s Hospitals, he obtained one as demonstrator of pathology at Cambridge in 1893. His professor’s death, however, soon terminated this employment and, after an interval, he obtained an appointment as pathologist and lecturer on pathology at the Westminster Hospital. Infection incurred at a post mortem necessitated the amputation of his left arm in 1901. Two years later he was chosen as director of the Cancer Research Laboratories at the Middlesex Hospital, where he remained until his retirement in 1924, being given the additional duties of professor of experimental pathology in 1920. In 1909 he delivered the Croonian Lectures at the Royal College of Physicians. During the 1914-1918 War he served in France for two years.

Lazarus-Barlow published A Manual of General Pathology in 1898 and The Elements of Pathological Anatomy and Histology for Students in 1903, but it was his work on cancer — in particular the effects of X-rays and radium on living cells — that earned him and the Middlesex Hospital an international reputation. He himself was a member of the Grand Council of the British Empire Cancer Campaign and similar bodies. In retirement at his cottage in Essex, he cultivated his garden and edited the medical section of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was married and had one son.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1950; B.M.J., 1950; Times, 18 Jan. 1950; Nature, 11 Feb. 1950]

(Volume IV, page 430)

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