Lives of the fellows

Peter Howard Sanderson

b.30 November 1916 d.19 February 2005
BA Cantab MB BChir(1943) MRCP(1944) FRCP(1964)

Peter Howard Sanderson was reader in medicine at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. He was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, the son of Thomas Sanderson, an engineer, and Margaret Sanderson née Dickinson, the daughter of William Dickinson, a physician. He was educated at a preparatory school in Newcastle and then at Fettes College in Edinburgh. He went on to study medicine at St John’s College, Cambridge, and St Mary’s Hospital, qualifying in 1943.

During the Second World War he was a house physician and then a medical registrar at St Mary’s. He gained his MRCP in 1944.

Between 1947 and 1949 he undertook his National Service as officer in charge of the dermatological research team, Far East, RAMC.

On his return to St Mary’s, he was appointed as assistant director of the medical unit. Within the research team gathered by Sir George Pickering [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.464], he developed the technical instruments to support the medical unit’s investigations, building the first colorimeter within St Mary’s and a machine to measure plasma chloride. He retired from St Mary’s in 1980.

In the latter part of his career he also helped pioneer the use of multiple choice questions in medical examinations, with the aim of creating objective measurements of knowledge.

In 1943 he married Anne Patricia née Bickford, the daughter of Bertram Raleigh Bickford, a physician. They had two sons and a daughter. They retired to north Devon and devoted themselves to gardening. In 2003 they moved to Winchester, to be nearer their children. Sanderson died from carcinoma of the larynx, possibly caused by the effects of radiotherapy for a parotid tumour, which had been successfully treated in 1956.

RCP editor

[Brit.med.J., 2005 330 909]

(Volume XII, page web)

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