Lives of the fellows

John Angell-James

b.23 August 1901d.19 June 2002
CBE MB BS Lond(1924) MB ChB Bristol(1924) MD Lond(1927) MRCP(1927) FRCS(1928) FRCP(1965) Hon FRCS Edin(1971)

John Angell-James, known as ‘Jack’, was an eminent ear, nose and throat surgeon. He was born in Bristol, the son of John Angell James, a general practitioner, and Emily Cormell née Ashwin, the daughter of an agricultural merchant and engineer. He was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and then did his medical training at Bristol and at Guy’s Hospital, qualifying from both Bristol and London universities in 1924.

He held house officer posts at Bristol Royal Infirmary, and then launched on a career of clinical research and teaching in ear, nose and throat surgery at the Bristol Children’s Hospital and the Bristol Royal Infirmary. With the advent of the NHS, he held consultant posts at both of these hospitals. From 1928 until 1955 he was a clinical tutor at the University of Bristol, and later became a lecturer. He was head of the department of otorhinolaryngology from 1955 until 1966.

During the Second World War he served in North Africa, Italy and the Middle East, as a lieutenant colonial in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In the 1960s he successfully introduced two new operations. The first, transethmoidal hypophysectomy, involved accessing the pituitary gland through the nose. The other was an operation to relieve Meniere’s disease, by selectively destroying the semicircular canals.

He wrote extensively and contributed to many publications on diseases of the ear, nose and throat, ultrasound as a diagnostic tool and Meniere’s disease. He was chairman of the editorial committee of Clinical Otolaryngology.

During his career, he was a member of many societies, including the section of laryngology of the Royal Society of Medicine, of which he was president in 1955, the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists (president from 1966 to 1969) and the Otolaryngological Research Society (president in 1978). From 1948, he was a member of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum, serving as a councillor from 1966 to 1974 and becoming president in 1974.

In addition to his surgical career, he also kept pigs and cows. He exhibited his prize heifers at the Bath and West Show and travelled the county with his prize bull, which he often sent by rail from Bristol Temple Meads station. He won the silver medal at the International Dairy Event, Stoneleigh Park, in 1974 for his calf and lamb resuscitator.

He married Evelyn Miriam née Everard in 1930. They had one son (Roger) and two daughters (Rosemary and Jennifer).

RCP editor

[Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 1997-2002, Vol. 9, London, Royal College of Surgeons, 2005; Brit.med.J., 325 2002 224; The Daily Telegraph 13 July 2002]

(Volume XII, page web)

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