Lives of the fellows

Norman Bruce Williamson

b.c.1893 d.3 January 1984
MB ChB Edin(1923) MD(1925) MRCP(1926) FRCP(1939)

Bruce Williamson was born in South Shields. He was one of eight children, five of whom chose to enter the medical profession. Bruce was strongly influenced by his elder brother, Scott Williamson. It was Scott who founded the Pioneer Health Centre at Peckham, which was an outstanding success in social medicine in the 1930s and ’40s.

Bruce served throughout the first world war and after demobilization,at the age of 25, he commenced his medical studies at Edinburgh University, financed by damages he received for war injuries. He became an active member of the Edinburgh University Club, a founder member of the Scottish Medical Golfing Society, and from 1921-22 was senior president of the Royal Medical Society in its 185th session, when still a student. Shortly after qualifying he moved to the south of England, eventually becoming senior consultant at the Royal Northern, Prince of Wales, and Barnet General hospitals.

Williamson was an accomplished writer and his handbook Diseases of children, Edinburgh, E&S Livingston, 1931, ran to nine editions, being published in Britain and the USA. Vital cardiology: a new outlook on the prevention of heart disease, Edinburgh, Livingston, 1934, followed and in his later years he wrote The executive and the seventies: men only, London, Lloyd-Luke, 1973. His style had a clarity which appealed to generations of medical students and to many laymen interested in matters of health.

On 2 August 1958 Bruce Williamson wrote to the president of the College, Robert Platt, later Lord Platt of Grindleford [Munk's Roll, Vol.VII, p.470], expressing his pleasure that no back street site near Harley Street had been chosen for the new home of the College, and suggesting that the authorities might be persuaded, with Royal support, to surrender the site of Someries House ‘provided the design carried on the Nash facade to some extent’.

He was survived by his only son Lorne, and his second wife Yvonne.

Sir Gordon Wolstenholme
V Luniewska

[The Times, 16 Jan 1984]

(Volume VIII, page 541)

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