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Biographical entry Turner, Edward Beadon (1854 - 1931)

MBE 1920; MRCS 28 July 1876; FRCS 9 June 1881; LRCP 1877.

September 1854
Chigwell, Essex
30 June 1931


The eldest son of George Turner, MRCS, who practised at 9 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park, W, he was born at Chigwell, Essex, in September 1854. His younger brother was Sir G R Turner, KBE, FRCS, surgeon to St George's Hospital; two uncles also were Members of the College (see under G R Turner). E B Turner entered Uppingham School when Edward Thring was head master in October 1867, played in the School XV in 1871, and left in March 1872. He then entered St George's Hospital, where he gained the Brackenbury scholarship and the Treasurer's prize. He served as house physician, was visiting apothecary to the Hospital, and was an assistant demonstrator of anatomy in the Medical School. He then settled down in private practice with his father in Sussex Gardens, and afterwards described his clientele as being so well fed, well housed, and well clothed that he saw hardly any cases of pulmonary tuberculosis, whilst it was so well established that he had at least two families on his lists whom he attended for five generations.

In 1912 he became a member of the Council of the British Medical Association, and from this time onwards he devoted his best energies to the service of the Association. He was chairman of the Kensington division in 1913, a member of the Metropolitan Counties branch council in 1914, becoming president of the branch in 1927-28. In 1915 he was unanimously elected chairman of the Representative Body of the Association and took an active part in its numerous committees. During 1920-25 he was a member of the General Medical Council as a direct representative, and for four years was chairman of the Central Council for District Nursing. Among the local appointments which he held were those of physician to St Mary's College, Lancaster Gate, consulting physician to the Princess Helena College at Ealing, and inspector of Special Constabulary of the F division, of which he was for a time chief medical officer. From 1921 until his death he was vice-president of the National Council for Combating Venereal Disease, a body afterwards known as the British Social Hygiene Council. On behalf of this Council he is said to have given 567 lectures to more than half a million officers and men, often travelling night and day. After the war the military authorities invited Turner to undertake a month's tour of the British Army on the Rhine in the course of which he addressed the entire force of over 12,000 men with the result that there was an immediate and considerable decrease in the number of cases of venereal disease.

His devotion to sport, especially running and football, was life-long and he was always to be seen at the important Rugby matches and athletic meetings in London. He learnt his football at Uppingham, was president of the Old Uppinghamian Football Club, and played in the English Rugby Twenty in 1875-76 and in the English Fifteens in 1876-77 and 1877-78. He was formerly a member of the Rugby Union committee. His interest in athletics was hardly less keen, and he was president in 1913 of the London Athletic Club. He was also a vice-president of the National Cyclists' Union. He broke the world's records, amateur or professional, from two miles to twenty-five miles on a tricycle, beating all bicycle times; he held all tricycle records from half a mile to fifty miles on the path, and also the fifty miles tandem tricycle record on the road with S Lee. He held an extra Master's certificate in navigation, and kept up many forms of sport including yachting, cycling, and skating till his septuagenarian days.

Turner was an excellent and very fluent speaker, who brought into his work on behalf of the profession the same capacity for working in a team which stood him in such good stead in the field of athletics. He was nevertheless a strong individualist, and an outspoken debater. He believed intensely in private practice, disliked all movements towards the nationalization of medicine, and never quite reconciled himself to national health insurance. But his invariable courtesy, as well as his evident sincerity, made him honoured alike by friend and foe. He married Margaret Isobel, daughter of Henry Scott of Bombay, who survived him with four daughters. Mrs Turner died on 20 June 1946, aged 85, at Willow House, Amersham. He died on 30 June 1931 at 21 Westbourne Terrace, W2, and was buried at Sherborne, Dorset.

More than 200 cases of influenza treated with large doses of salicin. Lancet, 1891, 2, 121.
Cycling in health and disease. Brit med J 1896, 1 and 2, a series of articles.
Practice. Lancet, 1923, 2, 769.
An address on the clinical and therapeutic aspects of influenza, 1889-1927; the value of salicin in treatment. Brit med J 1927, 2, 93.

Sources used to compile this entry: [The Times, 1 July 1931, p 16c; Brit med J 1931, 2, 81, with portrait, and p 124; Lancet, 1931, 2, 100, with portrait; The Uppingham School Register].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England