BSc Lond(1935) MRCS LRCP(1940) MB BS(1940) MRCP(1941) MD(1942) FRCP(1960) BA(1980)
04 February 1912 – 10 April 2005
Anthony Arthur Gough Lewis, or ‘Bruin’ as he was always known, was a polymath and a man of many careers. In the Depression of the 1930s his parents could not afford to send him to university and, after school at Sutton Valence, he taught mathematics at a prep school. Befriended by the medical father of one of his pupils, he decided to do medicine and obtained a BSc as an external student at London University. He then gained an entrance scholarship to the Middlesex Hospital (the only school whose scholarship did not have an upper age limit), where he won several prizes. He kept himself by working as a demonstrator at Wimbledon Technical College. He qualified in 1940 and soon achieved his MD and MRCP. He saw war service in Burma with the RAMC, ending up as officer in charge of a medical division in Rangoon.
On demobilization he became a medical registrar at the Middlesex and undertook research into renal function with special reference to water, electrolyte and acid base balance. This included work on dogs at the Buckston Browne Farm. In 1948 he was awarded a Saltwell Research Scholarship by the College. For several years he worked as a clinical assistant at the Middlesex and the endocrine clinic at Guy’s Hospital.
In 1950 he was appointed consultant physician to the Connaught Hospital, where he established his own research laboratory. In 1953 he was Arris and Gale lecturer and Leverhulme research scholar at the Royal College of Surgeons. From 1953 to 1960 he was secretary to the recently formed Renal Association and helped to organize an international conference on the kidney for the Ciba foundation and, with Gordon Wolstenholme [Munk’s Roll, Vol,XI, p.633] edited the proceedings. In 1954 he visited America, becoming a research fellow at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He also became editor of the Postgraduate Medical Journal, which flourished under his management.
In 1960 he became regional adviser in post-graduate medical education to the south east Thames region, going on to become post-graduate dean. He got to know the region well and was influential in the appointment of the first clinical tutors and the establishment of post-graduate centres. Teaching was in his blood and, like a good schoolmaster he took a pastoral interest in his trainees. In his office he kept a photograph of every registrar in the region. In 1973 he made a career change and for his last few years returned to full-time clinical work as a geriatrician in Doncaster.
When he retired in 1977 he hung up his stethoscope. Always a collector of modern pictures, he took a degree in the history of art. He had a special knowledge of European baroque churches. His ancestors on his mother’s side were Huguenots. He spoke excellent French and enjoyed travelling on the continent. The last few years of his life were spent in a nursing home in Budleigh Salterton.
In 1935 he married Betty Glover, who ran a successful nursery school. She died in 2000. He is survived by a son Antony, who became a doctor, a daughter, Jane, and by five grandchildren, one of whom is a doctor.
R E Irvine
Courtesy Royal College of Physicians London, Munk’s Roll, Volume XII, page web
Note from RA Archivist
‘Bruin’ Lewis was also one of the early Secretaries of the Renal Association (1953-1960).
As described in Stewart Cameron’s ‘First Half Century of the Renal Association 1950-2000’, one of Lewis’s important roles in that time was as an organiser of a rightly famous meeting on ‘The Kidney’ held in London in 1953 at the CIBA Foundation; the first international meeting ever held exclusively focused on aspects of kidney function and disease.