OBITUARY: Professor R. J. Brocklehurst
Thursday 23 November 1995
Brocklehurst had a highly successful academic career at Oxford and at St Bartholomew's Hospital, graduating in medicine in 1924. Two years in the United States on a Travelling Fellowship were followed by lectureships at University College London, before his appointment to Bristol in 1930. During this time he published a number of papers on physiological topics and developed a taste for mountaineering. He maintained a special interest in the hormones of the gastro- intestinal tract and subsequently produced a number of papers on medical education.
In Bristol, Brocklehurst was responsible for the teaching of medical and dental students, but the department was small and poorly resourced and he had to spend much of his time building it up. In spite of his youth and heavy workload, he became within four years Dean of the medical faculty, an arduous position which he filled with skill and patience for 13 years.
Brocklehurst was a highly efficient administrator and consequently much sought after to serve on committees. These not only included the fields of medical and dental education and hospital administration but, as a committed Christian, over 20 years as a churchwarden at his local church and also representation of the Diocese of Bristol on the Church Assembly (predecessor of the Synod) and membership of the Central Board of Finance. At one time he was serving on more than 100 committees and was chairman of a number of them. Since he was notably conscientious they must have consumed an enormous amount of his time and energy.
He did not find it easy to delegate and kept a tight rein on the department, even to the extent of writing all the departmental orders personally, which, being a man of routine, he did regularly every Saturday morning. In all he did he paid a great attention to detail and accuracy and was aptly described on one occasion as a person who did not like you to push if it said pull.
Brocklehurst was determined to take his share of teaching in the department and gave as many of the First Year lectures as he could fit into his busy schedule. The students found his lectures clear and comprehensive and all recall the fact that promptly at 9am the Lecture Theatre doors were locked, to deter latecomers, something that would be totally prohibited under fire regulations today.
In the two decades following the end of the Second World War, the university expanded rapidly and changes came thick and fast. In all those involving the medical faculty, Brocklehurst played his part. For example, he gave meticulous attention to the planning and equipping of the New Medical School in the early Sixties, even though he knew that his own occupation of the building would be brief. The continual changes could not have been easy for an already busy man nearing retirement, who was happiest when dealing with things that had "stood the test of time".
Robin Brocklehurst - "Brocky" to his staff and students - took pride in knowing all his students by name. He was an excellent examiner and always fair, and was regarded with affection and respect. He was a very private person, a gentleman of his time with a full measure of old-fashioned virtues. He was modest, kind, courteous, reliable and unsparing of himself in the performance of his duties. He spent his long retirement at Newton Ferrers, in Devon, enjoying his garden.
Robert James Brocklehurst, physiologist: born Liverpool 16 September 1899; Radcliffe Travelling Fellow, Dept of Physiology and Biochemistry, University College London 1926-28, Lecturer 1928-29, Senior Lecturer 1929- 30; Professor of Physiology, Bristol University 1930-65 (Emeritus), Dean of the Faculty of Medicine 1934-47; married 1928 Sybille Risk (died 1968; two sons, one daughter), 1970 Dora Watts (died 1986); died Plymouth 21 October 1995.
- 1 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...
Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...