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Biographical entry Peacock, Joseph Henry (1918 - 1992)

MRCS 1941; FRCS 1949; MB ChB Birmingham 1941; ChM 1959; MD 1963; LRCP 1941.

22 October 1918
6 May 1992
General surgeon


Joseph Peacock was born in Brentford, London, on 22 October 1918, the only child (two sisters having died) of Henry James Peacock, general manager of the Great Western Railway, and of Florence Peacock, née Milton. After education at Reading School and Bristol Grammar School he entered Birmingham University in 1935, where he read dentistry for one year before changing to medicine. After graduation in 1941 he was house surgeon at the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton, and at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore. From 1942 to 1947 he served in the RAMC, first as RMO with the 19th Royal Fusiliers, later achieving the rank of major and serving as an orthopaedic and general surgeon in the Far East. After demobilisation he was a demonstrator in anatomy at Birmingham before returning to Bristol, between 1950 and 1965, as senior registrar, lecturer and finally reader in surgery, having spent a year as Rockefeller research fellow with Frederick Coller at Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 1951 to 1952. From 1953 to 1984 he was professor of surgical science at Bristol University and consultant surgeon to the United Bristol Hospitals. His academic surgical knowledge was encyclopaedic and led to the award of a personal chair.

Joe always gave the greatest possible help and stimulating advice to his junior colleagues in their research projects and was genuine in his compliments and encouragement. His personal contributions were in vascular surgery, particularly in Raynaud's disease and liver transplantation. He gave distinguished service to the Royal College of Surgeons as a Hunterian Professor in 1956 and as Arris and Gale lecturer in 1960. He was twice awarded the prestigious Jacksonian Prize, in 1953 for research into Raynaud's disease and, in 1967, for his work on liver transplantation in the pig which was done in association with the university department of veterinary surgery at Langford. This was just before Roy Calne's first successful transplantation of human liver.

He was an examiner for the LDS, RCS from 1958 to 1963, examiner for the primary FRCS from 1965 to 1971 and he served on the Court of Examiners for the final FRCS. He was also external examiner for the Universities of Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Wales, Ghana and the Sudan. He served on the General Medical Council from 1975 to 1985 and was chairman of its overseas committee from 1980 to 1985. He was a founder member of the Surgical Research Society and the European Society of Surgical Research. Although devoted to research he retained a firm interest in clinical surgery and was an active full-time member of the consultant staff. He was a warm and kindly man with a quiet sense of humour and an old-world courtesy. In his youth he had played hockey for Birmingham University and squash rackets for his county. Always interested in the technical aspects of radio, after retirement he took a course and a diploma in electronics and became a 'radio ham' with his own call sign. He also had keen horticultural interests.

In 1950 he married Gillian Pinckney, then a medical student at Bristol, now also a doctor, and a keen horsewoman who later became prominent in the movement for Riding for the Disabled. Professor Peacock died suddenly at his home in Ubley on 6 May 1992, survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Daily Telegraph 15 May 1992; BMJ 1992 305 949; West Eng Med J 1992 7].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England