Lives of the fellows

John Scholes Parkinson

b.10 November 1907 d.27 November 1980
BSc Manch(1929) MRCS LRCP(1932) MB ChB(1932) MRCP(1936) DPH(1938) FRCP(1971)

Known to close friends as ‘Jack’, Parkinson was a small, slight, fair man of considerable intellect, a ready wit and a ‘puckish’ sense of humour.

A foundation scholar of Manchester Grammar School, he won a scholarship to Manchester Medical School, where he had a distinguished career as a student, winning a series of prizes. He became house surgeon to Professor Telford, and went on to hold senior resident posts in both Ancoats and Withington Hospitals, later returning to Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1936 as chief assistant on the neurological unit to Fergus Ferguson. He held this post for some six years, and in 1942 jointed the RAMC and served as a specialist physician (graded neurologist). Much of his service was spent in Belfast, and he and his wife (he had married Margaret Bowyer in 1939) grew to love Ireland, and were later to come back frequently with their family of four boys for holidays.

After the war, in 1946, he returned to the Manchester district, and was appointed visiting physician to Salford Royal Hospital, and also to West Park Hospital (Macclesfield) 1946-1950. He was one of the last of the general physician/neurologists. With the coming of the Health Service he became consultant physician, with special experience in neurology, first at Salford Royal and Hope Hospitals; he later changed Hope for Withington (University Hospital, South Manchester) and Wythenshawe. He took his full part in teaching, and many of his senior registrars now hold consultant positions. He is remembered by colleagues and juniors for his shrewd clinical judgement and readiness to help.

He served for many years on the industrial injuries medical appeal tribunals. He was a popular member, always full of common sense in his decisions, and certain to ease along a session by his wit and good humour.

He did not shirk his duties on committees. From 1948 to retirement he served as a member of the Salford Hospital Management Committee, the largest such committee in the Manchester area, and for several years was its vice-chairman. An accident in childhood prevented him from taking an active part in sport but he was, from his earliest days, a keen supporter of Bury Football Club. From an early age he became interested in music, and became a good pianist; he particularly enjoyed playing duets with colleagues. When no more than 12 years old, he started to collect gramophone records — a hobby which lasted all his life. He amassed a vast collection of 78s, which included many rare records, and became very knowledgeable on the whole subject, and of the various recordings available of most classical music.

A few years before retirement he found an attractive house in Wales. He escaped there with Margaret whenever possible, developed his garden and took particular pride in his fine collection of camellias.

RE Lane

[Brit.med.J., 1981, 282, 1555]

(Volume VII, page 442)

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