Lives of the fellows

Sidney Harris Cox Martin

b.8 April 1860 d.22 September 1924
BSc Lond(1878) MD MRCS FRCP(1891) FRS

Sidney Martin was born in Jamaica, the second son of John Ewers Martin. He was a student of University College, London, taking the degree of B.Sc. in 1878 before turning to medicine. Having qualified in 1882, he visited Vienna, returning to junior appointments at the Middlesex Hospital and the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. He was assistant physician at the latter from 1888 to 1890, in which year he received the same appointment at University College Hospital, where he became full physician in 1898. He was also assistant physician to the Brompton Hospital from 1892 to 1900. At University College he was professor of pathology from 1895 to 1907 and professor of clinical medicine from 1902 to 1907; he afterwards received the same posts in the reorganised University College Hospital. During the War of 1914-1918 he worked in the 3rd London General Hospital and for the Committee of Reference of the Royal Colleges. He was an important office-holder at the Royal College of Physicians, being Goulstonian Lecturer in 1892, Croonian Lecturer in 1895, Lumleian Lecturer in 1915, Censor and Representative on the Senate of London University. In 1909 he delivered the Lettsomian Lectures to the Medical Society of London.

A physiological chemist before the name biochemistry came into vogue, Martin was an acknowledged authority on the physiology and pathology of digestion. He made an enquiry on behalf of the Royal Commission of 1890 appointed to investigate the effects on human health of food derived from tuberculous animals, and served on a similar Royal Commission in 1902. In 1895 he published a textbook on Functional and Organic Diseases of the Stomach and in 1904 a Manual of General Pathology; he also contributed to Quain’s Dictionary and Allbutt’s System of Medicine. He was a member of the executive committee of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund from 1902 and became its chairman in 1923. Personally he was a reserved man; and, in the words of one of his colleagues, it seemed "unbelievable that this quiet companionable man, who could play such excellent golf, should also be able to discharge so successfully the difficult tasks of scientific investigator, of practical teacher of medicine, of superb chairman of scientific or business committees and of successful consulting physician". Martin was married and had a daughter.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1924; B.M.J., 1924; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1925, 22]

(Volume IV, page 349)

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