Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Miller, Ashton (1908 - 1992)

MRCS 1933; FRCS 1937; MA, MB BChir Cambridge 1935; MD 1950.

10 September 1908
Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
22 November 1992


Ashton Miller, always known as 'Jerry', was born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on 10 September 1908, the fourth child and only son of William Ashton Miller, a banker and brewery director, and Adeline Louisa, née Porter, a farmer's daughter. He was educated at Tonbridge School before going up to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he sat the natural sciences tripos in 1930 and graduated in 1935.

He started his clinical training at St George's Hospital, where he was appointed to various house surgical posts before becoming rotating surgical officer at St Peter's Hospital for Stone in London. This was the start of his interest and future career in urology.

He served in the RAMC during the second world war in West Africa, France, Belgium and Norway. After demobilisation he became registrar to Terence Millin and lecturer in surgery at Bristol under Professor Milnes Walker, and was appointed consultant urologist to the United Bristol Hospitals in 1950, a post which he held until 1968. Under his leadership, the department of urology became one of the largest and most enthusiastic in the country. It was due to Jerry that the Bristol bladder tumour registry was so successful, becoming an invaluable resource which not only recorded the incidence of bladder tumours throughout the South West of England, but also scrutinised the subsequent histological findings and clinical research. He also investigated the problem of postoperative infection in the urinary tract, and, thanks to his and the department's efforts, postoperative management was transformed, and infection became the exception, rather than the rule. He was also a pioneer in renal dialysis. He became President of the Section of Urology of the Royal Society of Medicine, was a Hunterian Professor of the College in 1954, and was later elected to the Court of Examiners, on which he served from 1962 to 1966.

He retired from the NHS in 1968, and took up a research scholarship at the Norsk Hydros Institute for Cancer in Norway. He soon began to advise the neighbouring Radium Hospital, and was subsequently appointed consultant urologist there.

Jerry was an approachable colleague, who was always ready to offer shrewd advice. A keen sportsman, he played golf, tennis, squash and cricket, and was an able skier. He also enjoyed joinery and carpentry, and spent much time restoring antique and, particularly, long case clocks.

He married Judith Macdonald and they had three daughters and a son, but sadly she died shortly after the birth of their fourth child. Later he married Karin Blikstad, a consultant pathologist, and they had a son and a daughter. Jerry died on 22 November 1992, survived by his wife, six children and sixteen grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1993 306 713-4, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England