Lives of the fellows

Frederick Hope Stone

b.11 September 1921 d.21 June 2009
OBE(1991) MB ChB Glasgow(1945) FRFPSG(1949) MRCP(1950) MRCP Glasg(1962) FRCP Glasg(1966) FRCP(1971)

Frederick Hope Stone (‘Fred’) was one of the leading child psychiatrists of his generation. He was responsible for many advances in child psychiatric services in Scotland and his work had a significant impact on the development of the children’s welfare and judicial hearings system.

Born in Glasgow, he was the son of Marcus Hope Stone, a pharmacist, and his wife, Eva née Morris, whose father, Raphael, was a tailor. His family were Jewish and from a European background. Educated at Hillhead High School, he studied medicine at Glasgow University, the Western Infirmary and the Royal Infirmary. After qualifying in 1945, he was house physician at Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow for six months, then he joined the RAMC to do his National Service for two years. On demobilisation, he began to specialise in paediatrics and did house jobs at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow in 1948 and 1950, and at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1949.

In the early 1950s he went to Israel, and from 1952 to 1954, was acting psychiatric director of the Lasker Centre of Hadassah in Jerusalem. During this time he treated many traumatised children, some of whom had escaped from the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe and some were refugees from other countries in the Middle East. This experience was to stand him in good stead when he returned to the UK and began to treat children in one of the most socially deprived communities in western Europe, Clydeside.

Initially he was very influenced by the work of the eminent psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, John Bowlby [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IX, p.49], who was studying the effects of maternal separation on infants in post war London. Stone built on Bowlby’s theories and took them further, in that he looked at childhood disorders in the context of the family and its problems. In 1954, he was appointed a consultant child psychiatrist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow (Yorkhill) and his influence helped to inaugurate the first academic department of child psychiatry in Scotland the following year. The department consisted of a specialist multidisciplinary team who ran a small outpatient clinic, the Woodlands Day Centre, which provided a combination of therapy, education and play. A whole range of problems were studied here, ranging from autism to physical disorders as a result of disturbing home circumstances. It was the beginning of paediatric liaison psychiatry at Yorkhill.

In 1965, the original buildings of the hospital suffered from subsidence and were no longer suitable, consequently the patients were moved to Oakbank Hospital. The rebuilding gave Stone the opportunity to design a large child and family psychiatry department, fully integrated with the rest of the hospital which opened in 1971. That same year he also helped to set up the Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic and the Fern Tower Adolescent Unit (both run on very progressive lines) and became visiting consultant to them.

Appointed a member of what was known as the Kilbrandon Committee in 1963, he was able to influence the course of juvenile justice in Scotland. It was largely due to his influence that the Scottish children’s hearing system was developed. He believed that in all cases of children in trouble either as offenders or as being in need of care and protection ‘something in the normal upbringing process had, for whatever reason, fallen short.’ The feeling that the welfare of the child should be paramount motivated him at all times and he actively promoted the need for professional advice to be given at hearings, often being involved himself. He was also a member of the Houghton Committee on adoption for four years from 1968.

In 1977, he became professor of child and adolescent psychology at the University of Glasgow. A gifted orator, he was a popular lecturer, and as a public speaker was able to explain complex issues in child psychiatry with great clarity to a lay audience. He was secretary general of the International Association of Child Psychiatry and a foundation fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The author or co-author of many significant papers he also wrote two classic texts Psychiatry and the paediatrician (London, Bultterworths, 1976) and Child psychiatry for students (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1978), and contributed to a couple of books on youth justice Juvenile justice in Scotland (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1998) with Andrew Lockyer, and, jt eds Hill M, Lockyer A, Stone F Youth justice and child protection (London, Jessica Kingsley, 2007)

After retiring from the NHS in 1987, he continued to maintain an active interest in child welfare. His legacy was enormous. Many of the improvements he had argued for had been made and far better collaborative working instigated. Yorkhill now has an academic unit and a paediatric liaison team and, named after him, the Frederick Stone unit for child protection. The Scottish Centre for Autism was founded due to his initiative. He was appointed OBE in 1991 for services to children.

He enjoyed playing tennis and had a passion for music. A gifted pianist, his tastes ranged from Mozart, Haydn and Schubert to Gershwin, Porter and Ellington. He had once been offered the job of pianist on a cruise ship playing 1930s dance band music. An active member of the Jewish community in Glasgow, he started a charity, Cosgrove Care, which supports people with learning difficulties.

In 1946 he married Zelda née Elston, whose father David was a warehouseman. She was a primary school teacher who worked in some of the disadvantaged areas in Glasgow and taught at Jordanhill College which was the faculty of education of the University of Strathclyde. A welcoming, hospitable couple, they were married for 60 years and Stone was devastated when she died in 2006. He was survived by their children: David a paediatric epidemiologist at Yorkhill, Judith a clinical psychiatrist, and Martin an orthopaedic surgeon, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and his brother, Arthur.

RCP editor

[The Guardian 30 July 2009; The Times 30 July 2009 www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6732123.ece? - accessed 9 September 2009; The Herald Scotland www.heraldscotland.com/professor-frederick-hope-stone-1.913638 - accessed 24 February 2015; BJPsych Bulletin http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/34/2/75.full - accessed 24 February 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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