Lives of the fellows

Alfred Brian Taylor

b.10 March 1906 d.10 March 1975
MB ChB Birm(1928) MD(1931) MRCP(1931) FRCP(1944)

Alfred Brian Taylor was born in Hampstead where his father was a distinguished general practitioner surgeon.

He was educated at Leighton Park School and the University of Birmingham, from which he graduated with honours and numerous prizes and distinctions in 1928. After holding house officer posts in Birmingham, at the Brompton Hospital and at the Belgrave Hospital for Children he became a Member of the College in 1931 and in the same year was awarded his MD with honours. Then followed two years of outstandingly successful tenure of the post of resident medical officer at the General Hospital, Birmingham, but the influence of W.H. Wynn and L.S.T. Burrell inspired an ambition to devote himself primarily to diseases of the chest, and he returned to the Brompton as assistant resident medical officer in 1933. A year later he was appointed physician to Out Patients at the Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham, but before he could take up his new duties he developed pulmonary tuberculosis for which he was treated at Midhurst, serving as assistant resident medical officer there during his convalescence. Artificial pneumothorax was then the favoured therapy and Taylor was left with a great deal of permanent disability due to fibrothorax. When sufficiently recovered to return to Birmingham, his clinical work, his research and his teaching quickly established him as one of the leading national figures in thoracic medicine. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1944, an Examiner 1958-61 and in 1965 he gave the Tudor Edwards lecture on cardiac pacemaking, on which he had done valuable work. Although often at the College, the Thoracic Society was his major interest and he was always a prominent figure at their meetings, serving as President 1964-65.

He was assistant editor of the British Journal of Tuberculosis and Diseases of the Chest, and his high standing in his specialty was further recognised by his appointment as consulting physician at King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst. He played a valuable part in many local medical organizations, serving as Librarian and then President of the Birmingham Medical Institute for many years, President of the West Midlands Physicians Association in 1968, and for over thirty years he never missed a meeting of the Midland Thoracic Society.

In 1954 he accepted the Chairmanship of the Nursing and Midwifery Committee of the United Birmingham Hospitals. In this he was most successful, and in 1967 he became a member of the General Nursing Council and the National Nursing Staff Committee. Another sphere of activity was the Royal School for Deaf Children, on the Committee of which he served for many years.

A man of infinite charm, generosity and kindness, Taylor had wide interests. His chief leisure activity was fishing. He had a house and some water on the Usk and also looked after the water owned by the United Birmingham Hospitals on the Wye. He enjoyed good food, wine, music, literature, motoring and foreign travel. He had a host of friends to whom he gave the greatest hospitality and kindness.

Taylor’s mother was a Southall from Birmingham and two of his aunts married into the Cadbury family, both being awarded the DBE for their public and philanthropic work. Taylor certainly followed the splendid example of his forebears and throughout life was a staunch member of the Society of Friends.

In 1940 he married Marjorie Hann, the daughter of E.L. Hann, chairman of Powell Duffryn Ltd. There were two children, one of whom is in the medical profession.

Taylor died from cardiac arrest while staying with his friend Sir Clive Fitts, also a Fellow of the College, in Melbourne, Australia.

AGW Whitfield

[, 1975, 2, 44; Lancet, 1975, 1, 757]

(Volume VI, page 431)

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