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Biographical entry Mapother, Edward (1881 - 1940)

MRCS 8 December 1910; FRCS 8 December 1910; MB BS London 1905; MD 1908; MRCP 1920; FRCP 1927.

12 July 1881
20 March 1940
Mill Hill


Born at 6 Merrion Square, Dublin, on 12 July 1881, the only son of the seven children of Edward Dillon Mapother and his wife, Ellen, daughter of John Tobin, MP, of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His father, surgeon to St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, professor of anatomy and physiology, and president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland 1879-80, was for many years one of the most successful teachers in Dublin. The family moved to London about 1888 and his father practised at 32 Cavendish Square. Edward, the son, was educated at University College School and at University College Hospital, where he gained the medals in anatomy and physiology and graduated at London University with medals in medicine and pathology at the MB examination. He then acted as house physician to Dr Risien Russell at the National Hospital in Queen Square, Bloomsbury. During 1908-14 he was a medical officer at the Long Grove Mental Hospital, Epsom. He was gazetted a temporary lieutenant, RAMC, on 14 April 1915, and served in Mesopotamia and France until he was recalled to the neurological division of the Second Western General Hospital, which had its headquarters at Manchester. As the neurologist he organized and opened two hospitals at Stockport, acting as officer in command until they were closed in March 1919.

From September 1919 to November 1920 he was medical superintendent of the Maudsley Hospital during its tenure by the Ministry of Pensions. In 1923 the Maudsley Hospital was opened by the London County Council to fulfil the purposes for which its founder, Henry Maudsley, had endowed it. Mapother was placed in charge and held office until he resigned on account of ill health in 1939. The hospital became an undisputed success as a centre of teaching, treatment, and research, owing largely to Mapother's initiative and foresight. For some years he was physician in psychological medicine at King's College Hospital, London, and he was elected professor of clinical psychiatry in the University of London, when the chair was established in 1937 and was made tenable at the Maudsley Hospital. At the Royal College of Physicians he served on the Council in 1937 and 1938, and delivered the Bradshaw lecture in 1936. He also gave the Norman Kerr lecture at the Society for the Study of Inebriety in 1938. He was president of the section of psychiatry, Royal Society of Medicine, in 1933, and vice-president of the section of neurology and psychiatry of the British Medical Association in 1934.

He married in 1915 Barbara Mary, daughter of Charles H Reynolds; she survived him, but without children. Mrs Mapother died on 21 August 1945. He died on 20 March 1940, after a long illness due to asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, at Mill Hill Emergency Hospital, which was then a branch of St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Mapother did much to develop and stabilize psychological medicine in this country. He used scientific methods and adhered to the principles of sound clinical medicine. He was entirely out of sympathy with extreme psycho-analysis and with the tendency to divorce psychotherapy from medicine. He was however in no sense a reactionary, for he was at once receptive and original, quick to see and patient to bring about the development of psychological medicine in hitherto neglected fields. He was insistent too that psychiatrists should have a sound training in general medicine.


Manic-depressive psychosis. Brit med J 1926, 2, 872.
Assessment of alcoholic morbidity. Mott memorial volume. London, 1929.
Tough or tender, a plea for nominalism in psychiatry. Proc Roy Soc Med 1933-4, 27, 1687.
Mental symptoms associated with head injury. Brit med J 1937, 2, 1055.
The physical basis of alcoholic mental disorders. (17th Norman Kerr memorial lecture, 1938). Brit J Inebr 1938-9, 36, 103.
The integration of neurology and psychiatry (Bradshaw lecture, Royal College of Physicians, 1936). Not published.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 21 March 1940, p 11e, and 26 March, p 4d; Lancet, 1940, 1, 624, with portrait, and p 671; Brit med J 1940, 1, 552, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England