Lives of the fellows

Roland Frederick Jennison

b.1 November 1920 d.1 May 2000
MB BS Lond(1943) MRCP(1945) MD(1949) FRCPath(1964) FRCP(1972)

Roland 'Roy' Jennison was a consultant clinical pathologist at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester for over 30 years. He qualified at the London Hospital medical college in 1943, where he met his future wife, Kathleen. Shortly after qualification he joined the RAF Medical Service, achieving the rank of squadron leader. Only two years after qualifying, he passed the MRCP examination, and, returning to civilian life, was appointed lecturer in clinical pathology at King's College Hospital. In 1952 he was appointed to the new consultant post in Manchester.

In those days, before the foundation of the Royal College of Pathologists, and its plans for more specialist training in laboratory medicine, individual clinical pathologists were often responsible for a wider range of investigations than is the case today. Thus, Jennison found himself in charge of haematology, bacteriology and clinical chemistry.

In Manchester in the 1950s these three disciplines were dominated by notable figures with international reputations, respectively J F Wilkinson, R Fairbrother and H Varley. Jennison, the young newcomer, had to tread carefully to establish a 'niche' department catering for the two women's hospitals (at that time on different sites in Manchester). This he did effectively, and his opinion soon came to be valued by his clinical colleagues in the departments of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Following rationalisation across central Manchester in the late 1960s microbiology and biochemistry services reverted to the larger laboratories at the Royal Infirmary. Jennison continued to provide a specialist haematology service to the women' s hospitals. He had a particular interest in haemorrhagic disorders occurring in pregnancy, and had completed an MD thesis on fibrinolysis and its disturbances. He also helped his colleagues to establish the new infertility clinic in Manchester, and set up the first sperm bank in the north west.

A founder fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, Jennison was elected to Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 1972. He was an examiner in pathology to the University of London and to the Royal College of Surgeons.

Although somewhat reserved in the presence of strangers, in more familiar company he could be an enthusiastic, even ebullient conversationalist with many anecdotes about his early days in Manchester. He was a keen and expert gardener, and visitors to his delightful home near Knutsford were impressed by his horticultural knowledge.

His declining years were marred by the onset of Alzheimer's disease which, sadly, also afflicted his wife.

Colin G Geary

(Volume XI, page 298)

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