Lives of the fellows

Graham Steell

b.27 July 1851 d.10 January 1942
MB Edin(1872) MD FRCP(1889)

Sir John Steell, Graham Steell’s father, was sculptor to Queen Victoria in Scotland and designed the Scott Monument in Edinburgh. His son was born in Edinburgh and educated at the Academy and University. After graduating as M.B. in 1872, he held a succession of house appointments — at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the Stirling Infirmary and Dispensary, the Leeds Fever Hospital and the London Fever Hospital. Then, after five years as resident medical officer at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, he was elected to its staff as assistant physician in 1883. In 1889 he became full physician, an office which he held until his retirement as consulting physician in 1911. Steell also served on the staffs of the Monsall Fever Hospital, the Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, and the Christie Cancer Hospital, and he was professor of clinical medicine at the University. Heart diseases were his speciality, and he came to be regarded as the leading cardiologist in the north of England. He wrote two useful handbooks for students, Physical Signs of Cardiac Disease (1881) and Physical Signs of Pulmonary Disease (1882), and a larger Textbook of Diseases of the Heart (1906). He delivered the Bradshaw Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in 1911. As a bedside teacher, Steell was at his best—particularly when demonstrating and interpreting the signs of intra-thoracic disease—but in the lecture room he was difficult to follow. He was the last Manchester consultant to keep a brougham and pair of horses, and preserved the habit of wearing a frock coat on his ward rounds. A champion boxer in his student days, he was of frail appearance in later life. He married in 1886 Agnes Dunlop McKie, superintendent of nurses at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and had one son. He died at Streatham at the age of ninety.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1942; B.M.J., 1942]

(Volume IV, page 339)

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