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Biographical entry Scott-Brown, Walter Graham (1897 - 1987)

CVO 1945; MRCS 1924; FRCS 1930; MB BCh Cambridge 1925; MD 1931; FRCS Ed 1928; LRCP 1924.

17 February 1897
12 July 1987
ENT surgeon and General practitioner


Walter Graham ("Bill") Scott-Brown was born in London on 17 February 1897, the eldest son of George Andrew Scott-Brown and Louise (née Tindall). His father was city manager of the C M & G Insurance Company.

Bill, as he was known to all his family and friends, saw active service as a combatant officer in the Royal Horse Artillery in the first world war when he was wounded and also mentioned in despatches. He entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as an exhibitioner in 1919 and thence as a Shuter Scholar to St Bartholomew's Hospital where he graduated MB, BCh in 1925. In 1926 he and his newly-wedded wife, also a medical graduate, worked together for a short period in general practice in Kent, but Bill subsequently began to specialise in ear, nose and throat surgery. There were no recognised training programmes in this, then developing, specialty, but in 1932 he was awarded a Dorothy Temple Cross Travelling Research Fellowship which enabled him to visit specialist clinics in Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Stockholm and Copenhagen. In 1932 he was also awarded the Copeman Medal for scientific research by the University of Cambridge.

Following his return to England he subsequently obtained appointments as consultant surgeon to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in London. He had a special interest in diseases of the nose and sinuses and his superb clinical abilities allied with his high intelligence and great charm enabled him to build up an extensive and influential practice in Harley Street. He became a Commander of the Victorian Order after many years of professional advice to the late Princess Royal. He wrote extensively and was editor of the standard textbook, Diseases of the ear, nose and throat, one of the classic British texts on this subject. Although he relinquished his hospital appointments at the compulsory retirement age of 65 he continued with his busy private practice and eventually only gave up operating when he was 84 years of age.

In 1939 he bought a farm in Buckinghamshire and after a hectic week's work in London he would drive down to the country to immerse himself into the life of the farm. He bred a well-known pedigree shorthorn herd and every wagon and cart on the place he built himself.

In his student days Bill was a considerable athlete but in later years he developed expert piscatorial abilities. For many years he was a very active member of the exclusive Houghton Club and fished the Test with great skill until within a few days of his death. He was also a painter of considerable repute who had exhibitions in London, Edinburgh and abroad, with works in many private collections. Pastels were his real forte and for many years he was a member, and at one time honorary secretary, of the Pastel Society.

In 1926 Bill married another doctor, Margaret Bannerman, to whom he was devoted for over sixty years. Peggy predeceased him by six weeks leaving him utterly disconsolate and he died peacefully on 12 July 1987 aged 90. They were survived by their son who is a physician, and three daughters, one of whom is also medically qualified.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1987, 295, 339; The Times 16 July 1987; The Independent 22 September 1987].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England