Lives of the fellows

Bruce Maclean

b.8 December 1893 d.25 June 1969
MB BS Lond(1917) MD(1924) MRCP(1925) FRCP(1943)

Bruce Maclean was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and died in Boscombe at the age of 76 after retiring prematurely through illness in 1954. His father was Alexander Hugh Maclean and his mother Henrietta, daughter of Dr. Henry Sorley. Bruce Maclean was encouraged to take up medicine by his uncle, Dr. John Sorley. He joined his widowed father, who had then moved to London, where Bruce completed his school education at Aske’s Haberdasher School in Hampstead, before entering University College Hospital Medical School in 1911.

He gained a number of distinctions during his medical course, including Gold Medals in physiology and pharmacology and the Filliter Exhibition in pathology. After graduating in 1917 he was house physician to Dr. Batty Shaw at University College Hospital and later a house surgeon at the Royal Victoria and West Hants Hospital. In 1918 he married Vera Helen Webster and he then served in France, first in the Royal Navy Service and later as a captain in the Royal Air Force. Demobilised in 1919, he entered general practice in partnership with Dr. Sowry of Newcastle-under-Lyme, and in 1922 he began his long association with the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, first as a clinical assistant and from 1927 to 1954 as a consultant physician.

After election as a full physician in 1936 he gave up general practice completely and quickly established himself as a private consultant and in hospital practice until his health enforced increasing restriction on his activities for some two years before his retirement.

He performed a signal service for the Royal Infirmary in maintaining an exceptionally high standard of medicine. He was closely concerned with the development of cardiology and neurology departments in his hospital, and from 1948 until his retirement he was in the remarkable position of being in charge of both these departments.

He wrote a number of papers, mainly on cardio-vascular disease, but his most important contribution was probably that on the relationship between thyrotoxicosis and myasthenia gravis (with J.A.C. Wilson, 1954. Lancet, I. 950-953).

He was a founder member of the West Midlands Association of Physicians and when the first President - Sir Leonard Parsons - died in 1951, Maclean was elected President. He greatly appreciated this honour.

Maclean was an enthusiastic skier but his main interest outside medicine was in antiques and especially in old clocks. He had a remarkable clock collection and was very knowledgeable in this field. An increasing cardiac disability made his premature retirement inevitable and a long and trying illness was borne with exemplary patience and fortitude. He was survived by his wife and there were two daughters of the marriage.

AJ McCall

[Brit.med.J., 1969, 3, 119 & 183]

(Volume VI, page 319)

<< Back to List