Lives of the fellows

Joseph Smart

b.14 February 1909 d.22 October 1982
BA Cantab(1930) MRCS LRCP(1932) MB BChir(1933) MA MD(1938) MRCP(1937) FRCP(1953)

Joseph Smart was born in Cambridge, the son of Frederick Smart, a corn and seed merchant, and his wife, Margaret Ruth Pask, a schoolteacher. From the Perse School, he entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he graduated in natural sciences before proceeding to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, for clinical studies.

At Bart’s he was house physician to FG Chandler and the children’s department before applying, at Chandler’s instigation, for a house physicianship at the London Chest Hospital, a move which decided his choice of specialty. A Dorothy Temple Cross travelling fellowship took him to Sweden where he studied the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis by artificial pneumothorax and obtained material for his MD thesis. After holding the posts of RMO and registrar at the London Chest Hospital, he was elected to the consultant staff in 1938.

At the outbreak of the second world war he was pronounced unfit for military service by reason of bronchial asthma, and was enrolled in the emergency medical service at Friern Hospital, acting as chief assistant to George Graham. He was appointed physician to the Connaught Hospital, Walthamstow, in 1948, and until 1951 was visiting physician to King Edward VII Sanatorium, Warwick. He was physician to the Midland Bank; was elected FRCP in 1953 and, after serving as secretary of the Medical Society of London, he became president in 1969, an office which gave him much pleasure.

After the war, Smart was quick to appreciate the growing importance of physiological methods in the investigation of respiratory disease, and he started the clinical physiology department at the London Chest Hospital, where he and his colleagues undertook studies on the relationship between effort tolerance, spirometry, and blood gas analysis in bronchitic and emphysematous patients. He was not, however, greatly attracted to academic medicine; the clinical field held more appeal and gave full scope for his skill as a physician.

Joseph Smart was a man who held strong opinions. But this is not to say he was unresponsive to the opinions of others, for he was, by temperament, honest and fairminded. He accepted a heavy burden of committee work on behalf of the chest hospitals and it was in large measure due to his exertions that the London Chest Hospital, which had suffered severe damage from enemy action in 1941, survived and expanded. He was chairman of the medical committee of the LCH for many years, and a member of the board of governors of the chest hospitals for twenty-five years. At the time of the closure of the country branch of the LCH at Anglesey the Brompton Hospital offered sessions to those consultants affected. Smart thus became associated with the Brompton, and from 1969 until his retirement in 1973 he held the post of dean of the Institute, a period coinciding with the merger of the institutes of the chest and heart hospitals which added responsibility to the office.

In his younger days Joe was a keen tennis player and athlete. He excelled at the high jump, winning several cups and representing Bart’s and the United Hospitals Athletics Club; more recently he sought relaxation in sailing and painting. In 1938 he married Phyllis Mary, daughter of Albert Frampton, a property company director, and they had two sons and two daughters. Joe was a deeply religious man. In 1962 he, with his wife and family, turned to the Baptist Church, and he was a deacon of the church in Swanage, near his home, at the time of his death.

NL Rusby

[Brit.med.J., 1982, 285, 1499]

(Volume VII, page 544)

<< Back to List