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Biographical entry Guymer, Ronald Frank (1901 - 1977)

TD 1945; MRCS 1924; FRCS by election 1957; MA Cambridge 1926; DPH London 1949; DIH 1949; FRCP Ed 1970; LRCP 1924.

7 June 1901
15 September 1977
General practitioner, Industrial medicine specialist and Medical Officer


Ronald Frank Guymer was born in London on 7 June 1901, the eldest child of Frank Guymer, wholesale corn and grain merchant, one of whose wharves now supports the Festival Hall. Guymer was educated at Durston House, Ealing, and Westminster School where he played football for the school and gained several prizes and an exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge. He took an honours degree in natural sciences before going up to St Thomas's for his clinical training. He held several house surgeon and house physician jobs at various London and provincial hospitals and entered general practice in 1928 where he remained until the second world war. He served in the expedition to Norway, in the Middle East and in India. He became a full Colonel and received the TD in 1945. After the war, he returned to general practice for three years before changing to industrial medicine which became his life work and interest.

He became medical officer to several large firms including Sainsbury's and was chief medical officer to Lloyd's Bank for seventeen years. Guymer was chairman of many medical boards and a member of many advisory committees including the WHO. He was lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, at St Bartholomew's and St Thomas's Hospitals and the Royal Army Medical College at Millbank. He was an examiner in industrial health for the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Society of Apothecaries. He was a Charles Hastings Prize winner of the BMA and visited the USA with a Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship. His publications included papers on poisoning and accidents in industry and also on the role of general practice in industrial medicine.

Guymer had two children by his first marriage and subsequently three grandsons. In 1952, he married as his second wife, Dr Patricia Lesley Bidstrup (MD FRACP FRCP London) who was educated in Adelaide and came to Europe in 1945 with the United Nations relief and rehabilitation administration. Between them, they played a leading part in the improvement of industrial health in Britain over a period of some 30 years.

His hobbies included football, ballet, biography, tennis and cricket (he was a member of the MCC). He had an attractive personality and was a shrewd and effective committee man. During his latter years, he became interested in financial appeals for causes of which he approved. He collected several hundreds of thousand pounds for the Royal College of Physicians, and the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal College of Surgeons who made him Patron of the College in 1977. He died on 15 September 1977 at the age of 76, survived by his wife, son Tony and daughter, Jill, who became a physiotherapist.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1977, 2, 1093; The Times 19 September 1977].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England