Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Barnett, Cyril Harry (1919 - 1970)

MRCS 1943; FRCS 1949; MB Bchir Cambridge 1943; MA 1949; MD 1970; LRCP 1943.

30 October 1919
23 October 1970


Cyril Barnett was born on 30 October 1919, in North Hackney, London, to Barnett Barnett, a traveller in chemistry, and Rosa (née Freedman) his wife.

He was educated at Selhurst Grammar School, Croydon and entered St Catharine's College, Cambridge in October 1938, where in his second year he was awarded a College Prize. In 1940 he entered Westminster Medical School, and during his clinical training won the Chadwick Prize in Medicine and Surgery, the Abrahams Prize in Clinical Pathology, and the Prize in Forensic Medicine.

After holding resident appointments as house surgeon to Norman Matheson FRCS at Ashford Hospital, Middlesex, and senior house physician to A G Maitland-Jones FRCP at the Northern Hospital, he was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps in May 1944. He served as Lieutenant and Captain until April 1947, for much of the time as regimental medical officer to an infantry battalion in Burma.

On demobilization he obtained the post of orthopaedic registrar under B Whitchurch Howell FRCS at Southend General Hospital, Essex, and while there he passed the Primary FRCS examination and became interested in the anatomy of orthopaedic conditions. This led to his decision to seek an appointment in an anatomy department.

In October 1947 he became part-time demonstrator at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, under Professor A B Appleton. He was appointed full-time demonstrator by Professor D V Davies in April 1949, passing the final FRCS examination soon afterwards. Promotion to assistant lecturer, lecturer and senior lecturer followed, and he was appointed University Reader in October 1955.

In April 1956 Cyril Barnett received a grant from the Nuffield Foundation to enable him to take up a temporary appointment in the Anatomy Department of the University of Melbourne under Professor Sydney Sunderland; he returned to St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in October 1957.

In October 1963 he was invited by the University of Tasmania to become Foundation Professor of Anatomy and Dean of the proposed new medical school. The University of London gave permission for him to be seconded to Hobart in April 1964 to plan and initiate the new school; he returned to St Thomas's in December 1967.

The University of London conferred on him the title of Professor of Functional Morphology in 1965 in recognition of his interest in the relationship of structure to function in organs, tissues and cells.

Amongst those who influenced Cyril Barnett were Rodney Maingot and Frederic Wood Jones who was a friend of his.

Cyril Barnett was a member of the Anatomical and Heberden Societies, a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society, and a Founder Member of the Biological Engineering Society. He was a member of the Editorial Board of Medical and biological illustration, and a Consultant to the Army Personnel Research Establishment of the Ministry of Defence. Between 1950 and 1970 he published nearly seventy papers.

Cyril Barnett died from carcinoma of the tongue, on 23 October 1970, a week before his fifty-first birthday. He was survived by his wife, Sheila Catherine, nee Arnold, and their son and daughter.

The axis of rotation at the ankle joint in man. (jointly) J Anat 1952, 86, 1-9.
The metatarsal formula in relation to march fracture. (jointly) Lancet, 1953, 1, 172-5. Locking at the knee joint. J Anat, 1953, 87, 91-95.
The oldest anatomical school in London. St Thomas's Hosp Gaz 1953, 51, 179-182. Spiral structures within the hepatic portal vein of mammals. Proc Zool Soc 1954, 123, 747-751.
A comparison knee and avian ankle. J Anat 1954, 88, 59-70.
The structure and functions of fibrocartilages within vertebrate joints. J Anat 1954, 88 363-368.
Squatting facets on the European talus. J Anat 1954, 88, 509-513.
Some factors influencing angulation of the neck of the mammalian talus. J Anat 1955, 89, 225-230.
Flow of viscous liquids in branched tubes, with reference to the hepatic portal vein. (jointly) Nature, 1956,177, 740-742.
Wear and tear in joints. J Bone Jt Surg, 1956, 38B, 567-575.
A note on the dimensions of the bronchial tree. Thorax, 1957, 12, 175-6.
The testicular rete mirabile of marsupials. (jointly) Aust J Zool 1958, 6, 27-32.
The evolution of some traction epiphyses in birds and mammals. (jointly) J Anat 1958, 92, 593-601.
Variations in the venous systems of mammals. (jointly) Biol Rev 1958, 33, 442-487. Struktur and Funktion der Synovialgewebe. (jointly) Med Grundlagenforsch 1960, 3, 623-650.
Synovial joints: their structure and mechanics. (jointly) London, 1961.
The normal orientation of the human hallux and the effect of footwear. J Anat 1962, 96, 489-494.
Lubrication within living joints. (jointly) J Bone Jt Surg 1962, 448, 662-674.
A suggested reconstruction of the land masses as a complete crust. Nature, 1962, 195, 447-8.
A comparison of adult and foetal talocalcaneal articulations. (jointly) J Anat 1965, 99, 71-76.
Absorption into rabbit articular cartilage. (jointly) J Anat 1965, 99, 365-375.
The human body. (jointly) London, 1966.
The effects of age upon the mobility of human finger joints. (jointly) Ann rheum Dis 1968, 27, 175-7.
Practical embryology. London 1969.
Oceanic rises in relation to the expanding earth hypothesis, Nature 1969, 221, 1043. Talocalcaneal movements in mammals. J Zool 1970,160, 1-7.

Sources used to compile this entry: [J Anat 1971, 109, 177-80; Lancet, 1970, 2, 987-9; Brit med J 1970, 4, 309, 438; St Thomas's Hosp Gaz 1971, 69, 40-1].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England