Lives of the fellows

John Bulmer Randell

b.25 August 1918 d.30 April 1982
BSc Wales(1938) MB BCh(1941) DPM(1945) MRCP(1947) MD(1961) FRCP(1964) FRCPsych(1971)

John Randall studied medicine at the Welsh National School of Medicine, graduating in 1941, and after house appointments in Wales he joined the RNVR. From 1942 to 1946 he served, as a surgeon lieutenant, first in a destroyer and then at Cholmondeley Castle — then known as HMS Standard. On demobilization he became registrar at St Ebba’s Hospital, Epsom, and first assistant at Guy’s Hospital. He was appointed assistant psychiatrist at St Thomas’s Hospital in 1949, becoming physician for psychological medicine at Charing Cross Hospital in 1950. He was a founder fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1971) and a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

It was while working at the Charing Cross Hospital that his interest in the adrenogenital syndrome gained him international recognition for his work on gender identity, transvestism and transexuality. He founded the psychiatric unit at Temple Hill, Hampstead, which he ran successfully and which proved of inestimable value to patients from all over the world. Apart from conventional treatment, deconditioning therapy was used in cases of phobias, addiction, and sexual deviation. He had a deep understanding of affective disorders, a considered approach to treatment, and always remained an astute clinician. His book Sexual Deviations appeared in 1973 and he also published several papers on addiction.

Born in Penarth, Glamorgan, the son of Percy George Randell, an ophthalmic optician, and his wife Katie Esther, née Bulmer, daughter of a master mariner, he was educated at The College, Penarth, and the University of Wales, pursuing postgraduate studies at Guy’s Hospital. In 1944 he married Margaret Davies MB BCh DRCOG, and they had one daughter who also qualified in medicine.

John Randell was an expert gardener, enjoyed playing golf, and took a special interest in quality vintage cars. He loved France, which he knew well, and fully appreciated its gourmet delights. He was himself an excellent host and often entertained members of his ‘firm’ at home. He was saddened by the transfer of Charing Cross Hospital, and the closure of his unit in 1981. He died from a myocardial infarction and was survived by his wife and daughter.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
Valérie Luniewska

[Brit.med.J., 1982, 284, 1703]

(Volume VII, page 484)

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