Lives of the fellows

William Rimmer Lee

b.3 July 1922 d.1 March 2016
MB BS Lond(1945) DIH(1957) MD(1963) MRCP(1969) MSc Manch(1975) FRCP(1977) FFOM(1978)

William Rimmer Lee, known as ‘Tim’, was professor of occupational health at the University of Manchester. He was born in London. His father was William Lee, a civil servant; his mother’s maiden name was Rimmer. Lee was educated at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich, and then studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, qualifying in 1945. As medical student during the war years he was a firewatcher at St Paul’s Cathedral.

From 1946 to 1953 he was in the medical branch of the Royal Air Force and carried out tours of Egypt. It was while in the RAF that he developed his interest in industrial medicine.

He then worked in the Midlands as a GP and a hospital doctor. From 1956 to 1957 he was a medical officer for British Rail. In 1958, he moved to Manchester University, initially as a lecturer in occupational health, and then as a senior lecturer, reader and, from 1971, professor and consultant at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

He was instrumental in founding the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and served as the academic registrar for its first four years. At Manchester, he established one of the first distance learning courses in occupational medicine and also taught in many different countries.

His research interests included electric shock, work-related cancers, industrial bronchial diseases and noise-induced hearing loss. He also wrote papers on the history of occupational medicine. From 1966 to 1973 he edited the British Journal of Industrial Medicine. He also wrote invited leaders for the British Medical Journal and co-edited Hunter’s diseases of occupations (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1987).

After his retirement in 1987, he taught doctors English as a second language and served on medical appeal tribunals.

Outside medicine he enjoyed fell walking, caravanning and bell ringing. In 1954, he married Monica Audrey Johnson, a nurse and the daughter of a yarn agent. He was survived by his son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

RCP editor

[Manchester Medical Gazette April 1972, 51 (3); BMJ 1971 2 782; BMJ 2016 355 5885 – accessed 12 April 2018]

(Volume XII, page web)

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