Lives of the fellows

Ernest Septimus Reynolds

b.7 April 1861 d.22 May 1926
BSc Vict MD Lond MRCS LSA FRCP(1896) DL

Born in Manchester, the son of J. H. Reynolds, Ernest Reynolds was educated at the Manchester Commercial Schools and Owens College. He took the Victoria B.Sc. before directing his studies to medicine, in which he qualified in 1883, having won the Platt physiological exhibition three years earlier. He then served in a long succession of junior appointments — at the Macclesfield County Asylum, the Cheadle Royal Asylum, the West Riding Asylum and the Manchester Royal Infirmary. In 1891 he was elected to the staffs of the Ancoats Hospital and the Manchester Workhouse Infirmary, and eight years later assistant physician to the Royal Infirmary, which afterwards appointed him full physician and, on his retirement in 1921, consulting physician. He became, successively lecturer on hygiene for Lancashire County Council, lecturer on tropical diseases at Owens College, and professor of clinical medicine at Manchester University. He was primarily a clinician, and it was as the result of observing many cases, among his outpatients, of unusual skin affections and of so-called alcoholic paralysis, and by meticulous history-taking, that he traced a common cause, in 1900, to the presence of arsenic in the beer drunk locally. The arsenic was subsequently identified in certain sugars used in brewing, and the discovery created a considerable public sensation at the time.

Reynolds was an outspoken critic of the National Health Insurance Act of 1911. During the war of 1914-1918 he served as a lieutenant-colonel in the R.A.M.C. He delivered the Bradshaw Lecture before the Royal College of Physicians in 1917. Reynolds enjoyed a large consulting practice in general medicine and in mental and nervous cases. He was known for his speed and reliability in diagnosis and for his distrust of instrumental and laboratory aids. Personally he was a reticent man who found relaxation in the study of philosophy and logic. His wife was Rosa Maud, daughter of Thomas Hooker, and they had one daughter.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1926; B.M.J., 1926; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1927, 9]

(Volume IV, page 390)

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