Lives of the fellows

Kenneth Villiers Sanderson

b.9 August 1921 d.4 December 2009
MB BS Adelaide(1943) MRACP(1951) FRACP(1964) MRCP(1964) FRCP(1969)

Kenneth Villiers Sanderson was a consultant dermatologist at St George’s Hospital, London, a former president of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and a pioneer in the dermatopathology and multidisciplinary management of skin cancer. He was born and brought up in Adelaide, South Australia, the son of Kenneth Francis Villiers Sanderson, a judge, and Evelyn Kate Sanderson née Johns, the daughter of an engineer. His family could trace their origins back to almost the beginning of the state of South Australia and, over several generations, were prominent in legal and public affairs. He was educated at Scotch College and then studied medicine at Adelaide University. He qualified in 1943.

He was a house surgeon and house physician at the Royal Adelaide Hospital before he joined the Australian Army Medical Corps as a captain. He served from 1945 to 1947. He returned to civilian life as a resident medical officer at the Repatriation General Hospital, Springbank.

Deciding to train as a dermatologist, in 1952 he went to the UK and became a registrar at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin. He was awarded the Chesterfield medal in dermatology in 1954.

He returned to Australia as an honorary consultant dermatologist at Adelaide Children’s Hospital, but, after three years, decided to go back to the UK. He was a research fellow at the Institute of Dermatology and was subsequently appointed as a consultant in the department of dermatology at St George’s Hospital and as a senior lecturer at the medical school. He held these posts until 1986. During much of this time he was also a consultant dermatologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

He established the first skin cancer multidisciplinary clinic in the UK, with help from reconstructive surgeons and radiotherapists. He wrote the chapter on skin tumours in the first three editions of Rook, Wilkinson and Ebling’s Textbook of dermatology (Oxford, Blackwell Scientific). He was also a gifted teacher.

Sanderson was honorary secretary of BAD from 1975 to 1980 and president from 1984 to 1985. He did much to expand the organisation’s activities and helped manage its move to larger premises.

Sanderson was a talented silversmith, and made two trophies given at BAD annual meetings, one for the best poster and the other for the best presentation from a non-teaching hospital. At the time of his election to the fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 1969 he listed ‘music and the arts’ as his interests.

He was married twice. In 1943 he married Ronda Beryl Gehling. They had three sons. His second wife was Jane. He retired to his birthplace, Adelaide, and spent the last few years of his life there.

RCP editor

[BAD Newsletter Spring 2010 – accessed 21 February 2016]

(Volume XII, page web)

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