Lives of the fellows

Rowland James Calvert

b.12 October 1918 d.23 June 1978
BSc Glasg(1939) MB ChB(1943) DPH Birm(1947) MRCP(1949) PhD Lond(1956) MD Glasg(1956) FRCP(1970)

Rowland Calvert was born at Brampton in Cumberland (Cumbria). His father was the Reverend George Calvert of the Presbyterian Church, and his mother Isobel Broach, daughter of James Graham, a farmer.

He was educated at Greenlaw in Berwickshire and Coatbridge High School in Lanarkshire, and while a pupil there he played soccer for the Scottish schoolboys’ team.

He entered Glasgow University for the BSc in agriculture in 1937, transferred to the BSc in pure science, and graduated in 1939. In October, 1938, he registered as a student in the faculty of medicine of that university and qualified MB ChB in 1943. He was a member of the Glasgow University teams in soccer, badminton and tennis.

After qualifying he was house physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and in 1943 joined the RAMC. He saw service overseas in Italy, Austria, Greece and Germany and left the RAMC in December, 1946, with the rank of captain.

After the war he worked at Hammersmith Hospital as a house physician and then went to University College Hospital, where for two and a half years he worked in wholetime clinical research with HP (later Sir Harold) Himsworth, Max (later Lord) Rosenheim and Andrew Wilson. He had taken the DPH at Birmingham in 1947 and the MRCP in 1949. He was senior medical registrar at Whipps Cross Hospital from 1951 to 1954, then at the North Middlesex Hospital, after which he did some consultant locums before being appointed consultant physician in Burnley. During this period he published no fewer than twenty papers on a variety of subjects. He also took the PhD at London University and the MD with commendation at Glasgow in 1956. He was elected FRCP in 1970.

Calvert had an encyclopaedic knowledge of medicine and was particularly interested in metabolic disorders. Unfortunately, a few months after he moved to Burnley he suffered an extensive myocardial infarction, but made a remarkable recovery, due in no small measure to his wife, Gwen’s, devoted and selfless care.

He was a chairman of the Burnley Division of the BMA and a president of the Burnley Caledonian Society.

Rowland Calvert always had an interest in medical education, and was appointed to the post of postgraduate clinical tutor to the Group in 1965. The opening of the Mackenzie Medical Centre in Burnley in 1966 added a new dimension to the whole of medical practice in the district. Ever since, there has been a full programme of lectures, symposia and unit specialist meetings almost every day of the week. The initial and continued success of the medical centre was largely due to Calvert’s organization, his widespread contacts and, above all, his personality and unique handling of the meetings. He had a deep and lasting love for the English language and for rhetoric, often in its more florid and picturesque form.

Rowland was a large man physically, with a personality to match, and was greatly beloved by his colleagues and patients. He was married to Gwendoline May, widow, daughter of AEA Clark, but they had no children.

W Turner

[Brit.med.J., 1978, 2, 285]

(Volume VII, page 81)

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