Lives of the fellows

Peter John Lennox Holt

b.10 August 1932 d.26 February 2008
MB ChB Manch(1957) MRCS LRCP(1957) DCH(1959) MRCP(1963) MRCP Edin DCH(1959) FRCP(1975)

Peter John Lennox Holt ('Lennox') was a consultant rheumatologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary and reader in rheumatology at the University of Manchester. Born in Preston, he was the son of Lennox Holt, who owned a cotton mill. Since his father died before he was born, he was brought up by his mother and was strongly influenced by his uncle, John Rigby, a local GP, who inspired him to study medicine and become the third generation in the family to do so. He attended Chorley Grammar School and then studied medicine at the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and Manchester University.

After qualifying in 1957, he did house jobs in Manchester, at Addenbrooke's in Cambridge and in Birmingham at the Arthritis and Rheumatism Research Council. In 1966 he was appointed consultant physician and lecturer in medicine at Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and worked with Eric Bywaters [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p,86]. Seven years later, in 1973, he returned to the MRI as a consultant in the rheumatology department. Working under Jonki Kellgren [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] he progressed the research on collagen arthritis and vasculitis disease caused by disorders of the autoimmune system. On Kellgren's retirement he succeeded to the post of head of department.

He served on numerous academic committees and editorial boards. The author or co-author of over 150 academic papers, he also edited Current topics in connective tissue diseases (London, Churchill Livingstone, 1975). He was proud of the work he had done to develop his department’s paediatric specialism and towards the training of future rheumatologists. After retirement, he continued to give occasional lectures and to undertake medico-legal work.

When he was 15, he had developed chronic ear problems and had been sent to Wengen, in Switzerland, to recuperate. This experience gave him a lifelong love of skiing and his proficiency in the sport led to him being chosen for the British Olympic team. A lover of the outdoor life (he had been a ‘King’s Scout’ in his youth), he continued to enjoy skiing as well as tennis, golf and walking. Foreign travel, reading and gardening were also favourite pastimes.

In 1961 he married Mary Kathleen, the daughter of John Boydell, a school inspector. Mary was a nurse at the Manchester Eye Hospital. She died of cancer in 1981, leaving him to bring up their four school-age children. When he died he was survived by his two sons, two daughters (one of who, Ruth, was medically qualified) and five grandchildren.

RCP editor

[Rheumatol, 2009 48 455; BMJ, 2008 337 751]

(Volume XII, page web)

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