Lives of the fellows

Thomas Tennent

b.12 March 1900 d.28 January 1962
MB ChB Glasg(1923) DPH Eng(1926) DPM Eng(1927) MD Glasg(1930) MRCP(1931) FRCP(1941) JP(1949)

Born in Kirkintilloch the son of Thomas and Susan (Stewart) Tennent, Thomas Tennent was educated at Lenzie Academy and the University of Glasgow. He decided at an early age to devote himself to a psychiatric career, and after spending two years at Dykebar Mental Hospital, Paisley, he came to London in 1926 and obtained a post at the Maudsley Hospital. He remained there for the next twelve years, latterly as deputy superintendent. During that time he spent a year at Johns Hopkins Hospital on a Rockefeller medical fellowship, and was appointed, in 1936, assistant physician in psychological medicine at King’s College Hospital. He also began an association with the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, which he served from 1945 as chief consultant.

In 1938 he became medical superintendent of St. Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton, a private psychiatric hospital with high standards. During the War he organised and conducted at the Hospital a unit for Service psychiatric casualties; during the five years of its existence this unit cared for some eight thousand patients. His policy at St. Andrew’s Hospital, during the difficult period of transition after the war and the introduction of the National Health Service, was characteristically independent and assured.

He was physician in psychological medicine at the Northampton General Hospital from 1938 onwards, and he played a very prominent part in the affairs of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association, of which he was treasurer from 1947, and in 1952 president.

Tennent was a dry, laconic, clear-sighted man, firm in his friendships, who spoke his mind plainly, but was free from rancour and sentimentality. He was a sober, down-to-earth clinician, shrewd in judgment, and noteworthy for his contributions to the treatment of general paralysis in the pre-penicillin era (J. ment. Sci., 1931, 77, 86-118). He was an able administrator.

He married Mildred Evelyn Gale in 1931. They had one son, who qualified in medicine, and two daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1962, 1, 489-90;Lancet, 1962, 1, 331-2; Times, 31.Jan. 1962]

(Volume V, page 408)

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