Professor Leslie Pyrah

Leslie Pyrah was one of the most eminent surgeons in British urology, whose distinguished career greatly enhanced the status of the speciality and its development as a single specialist entity, and whose work achieved world-wide recognition.

A true Yorkshireman, Pyrah graduated in Medicine from Leeds University in 1924, followed by an MSc in Physiology, and was elected to the Honorary Consultant Staff of the Leeds General Infirmary in 1934. His rather reserved and unassuming manner belied an extremely competent and respected general surgeon. In addition to his general work, Pyrah maintained an interest in surgical research, and later urological research, trying to combine basic science, in particular biochemistry, with clinical practice, and in 1938 was appointed Director of Surgical Research at Leeds University.

An important turning-point in Pyrah's career came in 1950 when he decided to forsake general surgery and to concentrate his efforts in urology, again with a particular emphasis on urological research. In 1956 he was appointed to the first Professorial Chair in Urological Surgery in Britain, at Leeds University, setting a standard of excellence that attracted urological trainees and scientists from around the globe. His personal enthusiasm led to the Medical Research Council's establishing in the same year a research unit, of which he became Honorary Director, into the chemical pathology and causation of renal stone disease.

Further study into bladder malignancy was followed by pioneering work on renal dialysis and the creation of a successful artificial kidney. Under his guidance the Wellcome Wing was established at the General Infirmary in 1959, dedicated to clinical research, which was founded on grants from the Wellcome Foundation, the University and the Endowment Fund of the United Leeds Hospital together with significant local support.

Pyrah was appointed Weild Lecturer at the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow in 1955, the Ramon Guiteras Lecturer to the American Urological Association in 1957 and the Litchfield Lecturer at Oxford University in 1959. Also in 1959 he was awarded the St Peter's Medal by the British Association of Urological Surgeons and in 1975 the Honorary Gold Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in recognition of his immense surgical achievements.

Outside medicine Pyrah was an avid reader, a more than useful tennis player and a keen ornithologist. In addition he was an accomplished pianist who had considered turning professional in earlier years. British urology can only be thankful that the course he took has left us with such an exciting future.

Adrian D. Joyce

Leslie Norman Pyrah, urologist: born 11 April 1899; Honorary Assistant Surgeon, Leeds General Infirmary 1934-44, Surgeon with charge of Out-patients 1944-50, Senior Consultant Surgeon, Department of Urology, Leeds General Infirmary 1950-64, Honorary Director, Medical Research Council Unit 1956- 64; Lecturer in Surgery, Leeds University 1934-56, Professor of Urological Surgery 1956-64 (Emeritus); CBE 1963; married 1934 Mary Batley (died 1990: one son, one daughter, and one son deceased); died Leeds 30 April 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence