Lives of the fellows

Stephen Mattingly

b.1 March 1922 d.19 January 2011
MB BS Lond(1946) DPhysMed Eng(1953) MRCP(1955) FRCP(1970)

Stephen Mattingly was deputy director of the department of rheumatology at the Middlesex Hospital and medical director of Garston Manor Medical Rehabilitation Centre. He was born in Hampstead, London, the son of Harold Mattingly, the distinguished numismatist and Roman historian who was assistant keeper of coins at the British Museum, and Marion Grahame Mattingly née Meikleham. Stephen’s twin brother, David Mattingly [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web], went on to become professor of postgraduate medical studies at Exeter.

Stephen was educated at Leighton Park, a Quaker school at Reading, and then at University College Hospital Medical School. After graduating in 1946, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and from 1947 to 1949 was posted to the Far East, where he served as a regimental officer to the Gurkha Rifles and as officer commanding the British Military Hospital at Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Returning home from Hong Kong on a troopship, Stephen was in sole charge of some 30 naval casualties from HMS Amethyst, HMS Consort and the cruiser, HMS London, which had been shelled by Chinese communist gunners on the river Yangtze. This sparked his interest in rehabilitation.

On returning to England in 1949, Stephen trained in physical medicine at University College Hospital and the Middlesex and, in 1956, was appointed as a consultant in physical medicine at St Albans City Hospital and at Garston Manor Medical Rehabilitation Centre, near Watford. In 1958 he left St Albans to become a consultant at the Middlesex and in 1965 he became deputy director of the new department of rheumatology at the Middlesex. On moving to the Middlesex, Stephen had retained his sessions at Garston Manor and in 1972 he succeeded A P H Randle as medical director.

He was particularly concerned with the problem of resettling disabled people in work and, in 1960, he was appointed as regional medical adviser to the Ministry of Labour for London and South East England, later becoming regional medical consultant to the Department of Employment. He was responsible for educating the medical professions about rehabilitation and he also campaigned to site employment rehabilitation centres in hospital grounds, the first of these being built at Garston manor.

He edited a book Rehabilitation today (London, Update Publications Ltd), first published in 1977. He published about 40 other papers or chapters in books on both rheumatology and rehabilitation. He became a governor of Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People and served on the Attendance Allowance Board.

Stephen served in the Territorial Army from 1952 to 1967, retiring as a lieutenant colonel and as officer in charge of a medical division, 10 (London) General Hospital TA. From 1976 to 1981 he was an honorary consultant in rheumatology and rehabilitation to the Army. He was a life member of the British Society for Rheumatology and a senior companion fellow of the British Orthopaedic Association.

Outside medicine, Stephen became interested in local politics in Amersham when the council proposed to put a road through his garden. He refused to take this lying down and promptly formed a residents association, of which he became chairman. Within three or four years the residents association had secured a majority on Amersham Rural District Council and Stephen served as the council chairman from 1967 to 1969. One of the changes Stephen helped to implement was the transfer of council meetings from afternoons to evenings so that working people could take part in local government.

On retiring, Stephen moved to Little Brington in Northamptonshire and soon became heavily involved in the Brington History Society. His extensive researches into the local history and the Spencer family at Althorp, as well as the connections with the ancestors of George Washington, culminated in the publication of the first edition of his book Aspects of Brington (Little Brington) in 1997. After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, visitors flocked to Althorp and Great Brington church, where Stephen acted as a steward and was much in demand for his wide local knowledge. He also served as chairman of the Brington Parish Council and enjoyed painting in oils.

Stephen married Brenda Mary Pike in 1945 and she predeceased him in 2006. He was survived by his son, Peter, who was a consultant rheumatologist at Kettering and Northampton General hospitals.

Peter Mattingly

[The Times 16 March 2011]

(Volume XII, page web)

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