Lives of the fellows

Thomas Spencer Leslie Beswick

b.24 December 1919 d.1 August 2005
BA MB BChir Cantab(1944) MRCP(1946) MD(1956) MRCPath(1964) MSc Manch(1971) FRCPath(1971) FRCP(1973)

Thomas Spencer Leslie Beswick was professor of virology at the University of Manchester. He was born in Nantwich, Cheshire. His father, Wilfred Thomas Beswick, was a general practitioner. His mother, Hilda Mary née Chandler, was the daughter of a merchant. He attended Shrewsbury public school and studied medicine at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and then Middlesex Hospital Medical School.

He held house posts at Wolverhampton Royal Hospital, and then joined the RAF in 1946, after the end of the Second World War. He spent much of his time working in RAF hospital laboratories. He was demobilised after two years with the rank of squadron leader.

From 1949 to 1951, he was an assistant pathologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and, from 1951 to 1955, a demonstrator in pathology. From 1955, as a member of the scientific staff at the Medical Research Council in Hampstead, he carried out research on polio vaccine, including working with Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin in the US, and brought the current oral vaccine to the UK.

In 1962 he became a reader in virology at Manchester University and a consultant virologist to the United Manchester Hospitals. In 1967 he was made a professor. He continued to research polio and other viruses. Ill health forced him to retire in 1980.

In 1948 he married Gwyneth Helen née Hutchinson. They had two sons and two daughters. They survived him, as did four grandsons.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 332 2006 1396; Manchester Medical Gazette April 1967, 46(3)]

(Volume XII, page web)

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