Lives of the fellows

Peter Brett Storey

b.1 August 1929 d.8 July 2008
MB BS Lond(1953) MRCP(1959) DPM(1963) MD(1970) MRCPsych(1971) FRCP (1972) FRCPsych(1975)

Peter Storey was a distinguished consultant psychiatrist at St George’s Hospital, London, greatly respected as a clinician and teacher, and author of the later editions of the classic textbook Psychological medicine: an introduction to psychiatry (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone).

He was born in Whitley Bay, where his father, Henry Storey, was a master builder and company director. His mother was Alice Mary Harrison, daughter of a compositor. He was educated first at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne. During the war the pupils were evacuated to Penrith, and when they returned he changed to Mill Hill School, which had also been evacuated nearby. He then moved with it when it returned to London.

He qualified MB BS in 1953 at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. Subsequently he spent three years in the Army and was promoted as captain in the RAMC, having enlisted at the time of National Service, to enable him to be accompanied by his wife and expected child.

He then completed three years in acute general medicine in Portsmouth and six months in neurology at Atkinson Morley Hospital, associated with St George’s Hospital. He trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, where he passed his London University academic diploma in psychological medicine (DPM) with distinction. He spent two years as a research fellow at Atkinson Morley’s, where he carried out at an important study showing major psychiatric, personality and emotional sequelae from subarachnoid haemorrhage. He had previously undertaken the first well-controlled study using air encephalography to investigate chronic schizophrenics, which, although small in size and failing to demonstrate abnormalities, can be seen today as a forerunner of later studies using CAT scanning and other modern imaging techniques to show abnormalities.

He was then a senior lecturer in psychiatry at St George’s for four years, and in 1969 was appointed as a consultant psychiatrist at St George’s and at Springfield Hospital, near St George’s in Tooting, and then becoming closely linked. In 1971, with the foundation of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, he was awarded the MRCPsych. He was greatly respected as the best psychiatric clinician at St George’s, and was also elected by his colleagues for six years as medical administrator at Springfield, where he brought about many improvements and greatly fostered the link with St George’s, which culminated in Springfield being recognised as a university hospital. For nine years he also saw students at Imperial College.

He developed a large and successful private practice. He saw many survivors of three major disasters with post-traumatic stress – the sinkings of the cross-channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise (March 1987) and the Thames pleasure cruiser Marchioness (August 1989), and the Lockerbie plane crash (December 1988).

He was invited to become a co-author of a widely-used textbook, Psychological medicine, written by two eminent St George’s figures, Desmond Currran [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.118] and Maurice Partridge [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.372], seeing through its 7th to 10th editions (1972 to 1986), and ultimately becoming its sole author. He retired from the NHS, but not from practice, in 1987.

In 1991 he retired completely, and with his wife decided to return to his earlier roots, in Penrith. A few years later he developed progressive Parkinson’s disease. He was however for some years able to be a member of Penrith Golf Club, where his father had been captain in 1958, and to continue with fell walking. In retirement he also took a variety of evening classes, in French, conversational Italian and pottery, and completed two Open University courses in literature and history.

He was a man of many interests, cultural and sporting, with a positive outlook and a dignified presence. In his London years he was very much engaged in opera, and a regular attender at Covent Garden. He was a keen golfer, squash player, mountain walker and skier, continuing into his 60s. At St Mary’s he was a rugby player, until an injury with two prolapsed intervertebral disks ended his rugby career.

He married in 1952, while still a student, Ann Geraldine Murray, daughter of a businessman, and they had a very happy marriage of 56 years. He was survived by his widow, two sons and two daughters, and seven grandchildren.

Eugene Paykel

[News and Star 1 August 2008; The Cumberland News 20 October 2008]

(Volume XII, page web)

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