Torrid Disease: Memoirs of a Tropical Physician in the late Twentieth Century

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The portrait on the right is of Erasmus Darwin. My father usually known as Frank who was born on 11 September , had a brother see below and sister; he was a metallurgist and later Works Manager and Company Director. After elementary school in Fulham, he attended evening classes at the Northampton Polytechnic now City University in London, and obtained a City of Guilds diploma.

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In the Great Depression of the early s, when the politics of Oswald Mosley were causing considerable concern in east London, during which he was briefly unemployed, he set up as a shop-keeper in Earlsfield; however, this enterprise failed; he later worked at the Savoy Hotel and most of his subsequent career took place at the British Syphon Company, Islington; then during the second World War, Irthlingborough, and following the war, Eastbourne. He died suddenly at his home in Petersfield — probably as a result of a myocardial infarct.

He was a freemason albeit not a very enthusiastic one at the John Pyel Lodge, Irthlingborough.


My mother usually known as Cis who was born on 15 June , came from a family of ten children eight boys and two girls. She had trained in early life as a book-keeper.

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In later years she suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, requiring corticosteroids at high dosage; as a result, she became osteoporotic and almost certainly died of an iatragenic illness. Like both my mother and youngest daughter, I have suffered from acute migraine attacks with an aura for most of my life. My mother was already suffering from severe rheumatoid arthritis.

This photograph was probably taken at the time of their engagement. John was the son of William Cook — an ostler and labourer.

The parents of Aaron Wall father of Frances probably came originally from Gorsty Hill, Staffordshire but moved to Kimbolton; they had probably married on 21 February , but possibly My paternal great-great-grandparents also lived in Hitchin — in the s. My great-great-great-great-grandfather was probably James Cook? Ann might have remarried. Photograph undated, but probably taken in the s. Kate changed the family name to Grainger, which Stephen had unsuccessfully attempted probably in , by deed-poll on 29 April — following the death of her husband.

Stephen is described as being a waiter at the Royal York Hotel, the son of Joseph Kraninger, a farmer of Austria probably Vienna , and Kate, daughter of Richard Williams who according to one document, had a different surname from her own , a beer retailer. Stephen, a white-haired Austrian who almost certainly, although never proved, had some Jewish ancestry, despite the fact that he is said to have sung in a Christian church choir — presumably Roman Catholic — near Vienna according to one reliable eye-witness, died at the Cancer Hospital in Fulham Road as a result of an oesophageal carcinoma on 29 April The youngest of my maternal uncles was Leonard Kraninger Grainger — who from reliable descriptions suffered from achondroplasia.

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My maternal great-grandparents were: Richard Edwards ? My maternal great-great-grandfathers have as yet to be identified with certainty, although their names are known to have been Robert Edwards and Edward Cowlishaw respectively — both of them described in contemporary documents as labourers. The usual method of sterilisation of obstetric materials in those days was by baking in a gas oven!

I still recall suggesting to my sister, who was in a cot when we awoke , that the squawks must emanate from a baby brother or sister. Although my mother had eight surviving siblings one brother had died in infancy, and another was killed in the Great War — see below , I only knew two well! Nellie —? The two maternal uncles whom I knew well were: Stephen usually known as Steve — who had served as a private in the Great War — and Walter known as Wally ?

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Frederick , Arthur —? I hardly knew at all, although on two occasions I had met Charles briefly, and on a single one, Frederick. I remember them being particularly generous — especially at Christmas. Wally, who had in his younger days sailed to Australia in search of fortune, I recall, rented a bungalow for us — I think at Worthing — when we three children were convalescing from one of the childhood fevers, probably measles, in I suspect This action might not be possible to undo.

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This very readable and well illustrated book outlines the medical career of a physician who undertook a series of assignments in tropical countries between and Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Saudi Arabia and Papua New Guinea. Having thus obtained considerable experience of, and made significant contributions to, 'medicine in the tropics', he was later appointed to London's Hospital for Tropical Diseases, and there saw and contributed to, the formal discipline of tropical medicine which originated in the late nineteenth century in the latter years of the twentieth century. This unique account, outlined in this fascinating narrative, covers more than seven decades, four of which were devoted to tropical diseases, seen in warm climates and also Britain.

Now that the majority of developing countries possess their own medical school and graduates, it is most unlikely that this kind of itinerant and exciting career will be repeated.

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