Lives of the fellows

Arthur Bairstow Pollard

b.18 April 1916 d.5 September 1988
MRCS LRCP(1939) MB BS Lond(1939) MRCP(1946) MD(1947) FRCP(1969)

Arthur Pollard was a Yorkshireman to the backbone - born at Bradford, the son of Bairstow Pollard, a wool merchant, and his wife Florence, née Cusworth, the daughter of a farmer. He was educated at Bradford Grammar School, and went on to study medicine at St Mary’s Hospital medical school, London.

The writer first knew him in 1934, at St Mary’s, when Arthur was starting the second year of his preclinical studies. Arthur already showed promise of being a good doctor: he was naturally highly intelligent, an acute observer, and disinclined to talk very much.

After graduation, Arthur held junior posts at St Mary’s as house surgeon and house physician, and subsequently became house surgeon at the King Edward VII Hospital, Ealing, and later house physician at the Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith. From 1947-49 he was medical registrar at the Central Middlesex Hospital, and then registrar and senior registrar to the medical unit at St Mary’s. In 1950 he was appointed consultant physician to the St Helena group of hospitals in Colchester, Essex, where the writer was a consultant anaesthetist.

From 1940-46, during the second world war, Arthur Pollard served in the Royal Navy with considerable distinction as a medical officer, reaching the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander.

On his arrival at Colchester he was already a very well qualified clinician, with a deep knowledge of the problems and application of blood transfusion, as well as all aspects of general medicine. He worked tirelessly, not only at Essex County Hospital but also at St Mary’s, Colchester, where he started to build up a geriatric service, and at Black Notley, where he provided the much needed medical support for the rapidly expanding orthopaedic unit; and he still found time for smaller GP hospitals at Clacton, Harwich and Halstead, and for the geriatric unit at Tendring. No one ever heard him complain about overwork.

As a man, he was sometimes brusque when confronted with humbug, but he had unlimited kindness and patience with the seriously ill. He had a dry wit, and the capacity for breaking down problems in committee with a dozen words of basic common sense. None who worked with him failed to appreciate the value of his advice and help, or to realize that they were all the better for having known him.

After his retirement from the NHS, although he was beginning to have his own health problems, he continued to work where he was needed to the limits or his strength, and there are many in and around Colchester who will always be conscious of their debt to him.

Arthur Pollard loved Colchester and the country around, and in his younger days he delighted in spending many of his precious leisure hours sailing at Mersea. He never lost his pride in having served in the Royal Navy, and was an avid reader of anything written about Nelson.

Colchester was the centre of Arthur’s professional life and he was a valued contributor to the Colchester Medical Society, one of the three oldest medical societies in the country, which he served as secretary for five years, and as president, and supported enthusiastically.

In 1948 he had married Helena Marie, née Eaton, daughter of a civil engineer, and they had three children, a son and two daughters. His wife and family survived him.

JN Fell

(Volume VIII, page 381)

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