Lives of the fellows

Bedford Pierce

b.21 May 1861 d.8 July 1932
MB Lond(1888) MD MRCS FRCP(1905)

Bedford Pierce was born in Manchester, the son of Edmund Kell Pierce and his wife Elizabeth Tyler. After an early education at the Friends’ School, Croydon, he was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to a firm of pharmaceutical chemists in London. Eight years later, however, he embarked on a medical career. While a student at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, he won all the available scholarships and prizes, and, two years after graduating as M.B. in 1888, the Murchison Scholarship of the Royal College of Physicians. He obtained house appointments in St. Bartholomew’s and then decided to accept an offer to take charge of the Retreat, York. Having spent a year as clinical assistant in Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Edinburgh Royal Asylum, Morningside, he took up his new appointment of medical superintendent in 1892.

During his thirty years at the Retreat, Pierce introduced many reforms, built a Nurses Home (1898), and did much to improve the training and status of mental nurses. He lectured on mental diseases at Leeds University from 1908 to 1911 and carried on a successful consulting practice from Leeds. He was president of the Medico-Psychological Association in 1919-20. After retiring in 1922, he acted as a Lord Chancellor’s visitor for a time, travelled in America, Africa and India, and served as a Commissioner in Lunacy from 1929 to 1931. Pierce was a Quaker and a man of many interests — among them gardens, wood-carving and painting, mountaineering, and games. He married in 1890 Mary Isabella, daughter of John Hamilton, and had a son and daughter. He died at Harpenden.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1932; B.M.J., 1932; Times, 12 July 1932]

(Volume IV, page 465)

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