Lives of the fellows

Christopher Francis Howard Vickers

b.6 September 1926 d.21 March 2012
MB ChB Manch(1950) MRCP Edin(1956) MRCP(1958) MD(1960) FRCP Edin(1970) FRCP(1971)

Christopher Francis Howard Vickers was professor of dermatology at the University of Liverpool. He was born in Congleton, Cheshire, the son of Thomas Vickers, a clerk in holy orders, and Margaret Celia Vickers née Mummery, the daughter of a dental surgeon. He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School and then went on to Manchester University, graduating in 1950.

He held house posts at Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was subsequently a senior house officer and then a medical registrar at Salford Royal Hospital. He initially decided to specialise in cardiology and, between 1954 and 1957, was a medical registrar to the department of cardiology, Manchester Royal Infirmary, but, whilst holding a post as a medical registrar at Sheffield Royal Infirmary, he was persuaded by Ian Bruce Sneddon [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VIII, p.478] to try dermatology. He devoted the rest of his clinical career to the specialty. He became a senior registrar at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin and also at Great Ormond Street. He spent a year as a Fulbright travelling fellow at the Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. It was in America that he discovered the role of the epidermis as a reservoir for topically applied agents. During his time at Great Ormond Street he also acquired his other lifelong professional interest, namely, a long-term clinical study of the factors influencing the natural history of infantile eczema.

In 1964 he was appointed as a consultant dermatologist to Liverpool Royal Infirmary (later the Royal Liverpool University Hospital) and the Southport and Ormskirk hospitals, relinquishing the latter posts in 1970 when he was appointed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital. Shortly afterwards, he became a clinical lecturer at the University of Liverpool. His achievements were recognised in 1982 by the University of Liverpool, which awarded him a personal chair in dermatology, from which he retired in 1989. Already involved in scientific and clinical research, he continued these activities whilst developing the university department, which became heavily involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate education.

An excellent and caring physician, he wrote or co-authored numerous articles and papers, and edited a textbook, Modern management of common skin diseases (Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1986). He was a member of numerous learned societies, including the North of England Dermatological Society, of which he was president from 1981 to 1982.

Away from dermatology, he obtained his university colours for shooting, and was delighted to have been able to shoot at Bisley. Like his wife Jean Margaret née Lumb, also a doctor, he loved music and was a very keen gardener, and together they created a superb garden at their retirement home in north Wales. Pre-deceased by Jean in 1998, Chris was survived by his three sons (David, Paul and Martin) and five grandchildren. Chris Vickers died from renal failure.

Tom Stewart
David Vickers
Paul Vickers
Martin Vickers

[British Journal of Dermatology (1982) 107, 726]

(Volume XII, page web)

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