Lives of the fellows

John Rose (Sir) Bradford

b.7 May 1863 d.7 April 1935
KCMG(1911) CB(1915) CBE(1919) BSc Lond(1883) MB(1886) MD DSc Hon LLD Edin Hon DCL Durh Hon MD Christiania Dubl Hon ScD Cantab MRCS FRS(1894) FRCP(1897) Hon FRCP Edin

John Rose Bradford was born in London, the only son of Abraham Rose Bradford, deputy inspector-general of hospitals, R.N, and his wife Ellen, daughter of Nicholas Littleton of Saltash. After an early education at University College School, followed by a year at Bruges, he entered University College, London, where he studied for the degree of B.Sc, which he took in 1883, and then qualified as a doctor in 1886. His early career, after he had acted as house physician in University College Hospital, was spent mainly in physiological research, although he was elected assistant physician to the Hospital in 1889 and held the same office at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic from 1893 to 1896. For his work on such subjects as the electrical phenomena accompanying secretion, the action of drugs on the circulation and secretion of the kidney, and the innervation of various blood vessels, he was elected an F.R.S. in 1894. In 1898 he published Clinical Lectures on Nephritis, and in later years articles in Allbutt and Rolleston’s System of Medicine and Allchin’s Manual of Medicine. In 1895 he became professor-superintendent of the Brown Institution, a post which he occupied for eight years, and in the same year was appointed to the professorship of materia medica at University College, afterwards succeeding to the chair of medicine and the Holme lectureship on clinical medicine.

After his promotion to full physician at University College Hospital in 1897, Rose Bradford’s activities as an investigator declined and his responsibilities in the administrative field increased. For the remainder of his life he was associated in an organising capacity with all manner of medical institutions, committees and projects. He was a member of the governing body of the Lister Institute from 1899 to 1918 and its chairman from 1912 to 1914, and, with Kingston Fowler, promoted the creation of the Beit Trust research fellowships in 1909. He was secretary of the Royal Society from 1908 to 1915, and in 1927 organised its centenary commemoration of the birth of Lister. Tropical diseases, of which he gained experience as physician to the Seamen’s Hospital between the years 1905 and 1919, also engaged his attention and he was senior medical adviser to the Colonial Office from 1912 to 1924. For long periods he was connected with King Edward VII’s Hospital Fund for London and with the University College executive committee. In 1924 he stood unsuccessfully as candidate for the University of London parliamentary seat. His eminence in the medical world was confirmed by his election in 1926, and in the four succeeding years, as President of the Royal College of Physicians, where, already, he had delivered the Goulstonian (1898), the Croonian (1904) and the Lumleian (1920) Lectures and the Harveian Oration (1926) and served as Senior Censor. Under his presidency the College celebrated in 1928 the tercentenary of the publication of Harvey’s De Motu Cordis.

Rose Bradford relinquished his numerous activities in London on the outbreak of war in 1914 and served in France for five years as consulting physician to the B.E.F. with the rank of major-general. Appointed K.C.M.G. in 1911, he received the additional honours of C.B.in 1915 and C.B.E. in 1919. He was created a baronet in 1931.

With all his administrative talent, Rose Bradford was a gifted and lucid teacher, both in the lecture-room and at the bed-side. Although lacking in imagination and intuition, he was gifted with a retentive memory and a powerful brain. In spite of an austere manner, he was a man of warm humanity and many friendships. Outside his work he found pleasure in travelling, in natural history and in shooting and fishing. He married in 1899 Mary Roberts, O.B.E, daughter of Thomas Ffoulkes Roberts of Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire; there were no children of the marriage. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1935. 1935; Times, 8 Apr. 1935; D.N.B., 1931-40, 96; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1935, 22]

(Volume IV, page 391)

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