Lives of the fellows

John Alexander Scott

b.8 August 1900 d.14 March 1965
OBE(1941) MB ChB Liverp(1924) DPH Liverp(1926) MD Liverp(1927) MRCS LRCP(1924) MRCP(1951) FRCP(1957)

John Scott was the son of George Scott, a coal merchant, and Ada Wanda, daughter of Edward Bragg. He was born in Liverpool and educated at its Institute and University. After holding local junior resident posts he became assistant medical officer of health to Surrey County Council in 1927 and then medical officer of health to Shipley, Yorkshire, 1929-32, to the county borough of Barnsley, 1932-5, and to the borough of Fulham, 1935-45. He was then appointed a principal medical officer to the London County Council to redevelop the public health department so that its services would meet the requirements of the National Health Service Act. This led to his promotion to deputy principal medical officer of health and deputy principal school medical officer in 1948, and to principal in both offices in 1952.

In the interval a Rockefeller Foundation travelling fellowship enabled him to study American public health teaching and practice. It followed that he served on several committees such as the Standing Mental Health Advisory Committee, the Government and London University committees on public health organisation, medical education and air pollution, and the Central Midwives Board. From 1943 to 1950 he was lecturer in hygiene at St. George’s Hospital Medical School and examiner in public health to the University of London, from 1945 to 1965 a member of council of the Royal Society of Health, and 1957-8 its chairman.

Such arduous and excellent work was recognised in the O.B.E, in 1941, and in his appointment as Queen’s Honorary Physician, 1956-9. In 1958 he was Woodward lecturer at Yale University, visiting professor at Wayne University, Detroit, and elected an honorary fellow of the American Public Health Association. The large part he played in the planning of the first London County Council Health Centre at Woodberry Down is commemorated in its present name, ‘The John Scott Health Centre’.

In 1927 he married Marjory Mary, daughter of Thomas Penlieth Critchley, a meat merchant. They had two daughters. Scott was a tall, burly figure, always genial and polite, a good listener, and an admirable chairman of committees; his excellent command of English and his persuasive rhetoric could sway any audience. A keen cricketer in his young days, he retained an interest in all sports, and was a happy gardener although in his later years he had much ill health.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1965, 1, 867; Lancet, 1965, 1, 712-13 (p); Midwife and Health Visitor, 1965, 1, 92 (p); Times, 16 Mar. 1965 (p); London County Council. Report of the County Medical Officer of Health, 1963. London, [1964], 3.]

(Volume V, page 368)

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