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Biographical entry Ollerenshaw, Robert (1882 - 1948)

MRCS 30 July 1908; FRCS 10 June 1909; MB BCh Manchester 1905; MD 1908; LRCP 1908.

4 September 1882
Blackburn, Lancashire
19 May 1948
Orthopaedic surgeon


Born at Blackburn, Lancashire, on 4 September 1882, the eldest of the two sons and three daughters of George Ollerenshaw, JP, merchant, of Cherry Tree near Blackburn, and his wife Hannah Higginbottom. His father later lived at Glossop, Derbyshire. Ollerenshaw was educated at Manchester Grammar School and University (Owens College) graduating in medicine in 1905. He served as senior house surgeon at the Liverpool Children's Hospital, and surgical registrar at Manchester Royal Infirmary. He then worked at the London Hospital and in Berlin, and took the Conjoint diploma and the Manchester doctorate, with special commendation, in 1908; the next year he took the Fellowship. He was at first interested in abdominal surgery, but by 1912 he had begun to be more attracted by orthopaedic problems. During the first world war he served in France with the rank of major, RAMC(T), as surgeon specialist at No 57 General Hospital, after a period at the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester. Before qualification he had served in the Cheshire Regiment, and was gazetted captain when the territorial RAMC was formed in 1908.

When he came back to civilian practice he was appointed to the staff of the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and of the Salford Royal Hospital, at each of which he created an orthopaedic department and became orthopaedic surgeon. He was a superb teacher, clear in thought and exposition, though not a ready writer, preferring in later years to seek his son's help in shaping his rough notes into readable prose. He had served as clinical lecturer in orthopaedic surgery at Manchester University. He retired in 1947, and was elected to the board of management of the Salford Royal Hospital. He was visiting orthopaedic surgeon to the Booth Hall Children's Hospital. Ollerenshaw was consulting surgeon to the Manchester Crippled Children's Society, president of the Manchester Surgical Society, a Fellow of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery, and an honorary Fellow of the French Orthopaedic Association. He was a vice-president of the British Orthopaedic Association, vice-president of the section of orthopaedics at the Manchester meeting of the British Medical Association, and president of the section of orthopaedics of the Royal Society of Medicine. Ollerenshaw was a frequent contributor to the professional journals, his most important work being the series of papers in the British Journal of Surgery on cysts of the semilunar cartilage. He always made a scrupulous review of previous, including foreign, work on the subject in hand. Though he organized an excellent fracture clinic at Salford, he was more concerned with children's problems. He was a pioneer in using the cinema-camera for clinical and operation records. His elder son, Dr Robert G W Ollerenshaw, diagnostic radiologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary, was a camera artist of great talent.

"Bob" Ollerenshaw was described as "a genial tyrant". He excelled as surgeon, administrator, and teacher. As a young man he was prominent in association football and lawn tennis. His chief recreation was in music, and besides taking part in small concerts at his own house, his hospitality was readily extended to musicians visiting Manchester. He played well the piano, 'cello, and oboe. During the nineteen-thirties he bought a lake-side villa near Salzburg, and regularly attended the musical festivals there. He was honorary medical officer to the Hallé Orchestra and a member of its managing committee.

Ollerenshaw married in 1911 Florence Eleanor, second daughter of Senator the Hon Robert Watson of Portage-la-Prairie, Canada. Mrs Ollerenshaw died on 8 January 1933 at Broome House, Didsbury, Manchester. Ollerenshaw suffered from angina in later life, and collapsed and died in the Clarendon Club, Manchester, after luncheon on 19 May 1948, aged 65. He was survived by two sons, both medical men. Ollerenshaw practised at 21 St John Street, Manchester.

Causation and treatment of coxa vara. Med Chron 1912, 55, 156.
Sacro-coccygeal tumours. Ann Surg 1913, 58, 384.
Habitual dislocation of the shoulder joint. J Orthop Surg 1920, 2, 255.
Rotation dislocation of astragalus. Brit med J 1921, 1, 155.
The development of cysts in connexion with the external semilunar cartilage of the knee joint. Brit J Surg 1921, 8, 409; 1929, 16, 555; 1935, 23, 277.
Hospital treatment of fractures. Brit med J 1921, 1, 559.
Tendon transplantation. Brit med J 1922, 2, 77.
Giant-celled tumours of tendons associated with xanthelasma. Brit J Surg 1923, 10, 466.
Observations on the Osgood-Schlatter disease (lesion of the tibial tubercle in adolescents). Brit med J 1925, 2, 944.
Surgical treatment of dangle foot. Brit med J 1926, 1, 525.
Treatment of fractures involving the ankle joint. Brit med J 1929, 1, 585.
Present attitude towards bone-setting and manipulation. Brit med J 1930, 1, 1056. Fractures of articular surfaces of knee joint. Brit med J 1930, 2, 466.
The femoral neck in childhood. Proc Roy Soc Med 1939, 32, 113.
Wounds of knee joint, in H. Bailey Surgery of modern warfare. London, 1942.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 20 May 1948, p 6e; Lancet, 1948, 1, 850, with eulogy by Sir Harry Platt, FRCS, and p 929 by J B M with portrait; Brit med J 1948, 1, 1053, by W S Creer, FRCS, and 1948, 2, 1045, will; J Bone Jt Surg 1948, 30B, 560, by W S Creer, with portrait; information from his son, Robert G W Ollerenshaw, BM, DMRD].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England