Lives of the fellows

Sydney (Sir) Russell-Wells

b.25 September 1869 d.14 July 1924
BSc MD Lond MRCS FRCP(1922) MP

Sydney Russell Wells, who altered his surname to Russell-Wells, was born in Kensington, the son of Benjamin Weston Wells, and educated at the Dorset County School, the Royal College of Science, and University College, London, where he took the B.Sc. degree in 1889. He graduated in medicine from St. George’s Hospital four years later, having won the Pollock, Treasurer’s and Brackenbury prizes and the William Brown exhibition, and held several appointments on the junior staff of the Hospital. He was elected assistant physician to the National Hospital for Diseases of the Heart in 1904 and physician in 1909, and assistant physician to the Seamen’s Hospital in 1906, becoming full physician there two years later. He lectured at the London School of Clinical Medicine till 1914.

Russell-Wells’s outstanding work, however, was not done in medicine but in the affairs of London University. He was a member of the Senate from 1903 till his death, and from 1908 to 1919 chairman of the council for external students, whose interests he promoted assiduously. From 1919 to 1922 he was vice-chancellor, guiding the University through the difficult period of postwar reconstruction and founding a school and degree of commerce. He represented the University in the General Medical Council after 1918, and in 1922, standing as a Conservative, was returned to Parliament as its Member. He was knighted in 1921. Russell-Wells was a man of high administrative ability, efficient in committee and as a chairman. His hobbies were engineering and carpentry. He married in 1895 Harriet, daughter of Stephen Smith, and had a son and two daughters.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1924; B.M.J., 1924; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1925, 20]

(Volume IV, page 582)

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