NOTTINGHAM’S EMINENT SURGEONS AND PHYSICIANS


ALEXANDER ROBERT TWEEDIE

(1871 - 1936)


President of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society

1928 - 1929

Alexander Robert Tweedie 14, Oxford Street, Nottingham. M.R.C.S. 8th November 1900; F.R.C.S. 12th December 1901; L.R.C.P. 1900. Junior Scholar, Anatomy & Biology, 1896. Honoary Surgeon, Ear Nose and Throat Department, Nottingham General Hospital; Honoary Laryngologist & Aural Surgeon, Royal Midland Institute for the Blind; Aural Specialist, Local Ministry of Pensions. Colonel Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteers) (retired). Member of the Medical Committee, National Institute for the Deaf; Member of the Laryngological Section & Member of the Council, Otolaryngological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine; Member of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society. Late Junior Clinical Assistant, Hospital for the Diseases of the Throat, Golden Square; Casualty House Surgeon, Royal Free Hospital; Assistant Surgeon, Nottingham Children’s Hospital; Civil Surgeon, South African Field Force. Member of the Collaborative Staff, Journal of Laryngology& Otology.


Medical Directory 1926

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Alexander Robert Tweedie was born at Bickley, Kent, in 1871. He was the third son of Alexander Forbes Tweedie, J.P., of Rawlinson. After finishing his early education at Repton he proceeded to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and in 1900 obtained the membership of the Royal College of Surgeons and Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians diplomas. In 1901 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. After qualifying he held the appointments of casualty house-surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, and junior clinical assistant at the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat, Golden Square.


He had a remarkable military career. In 1893 he joined the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, and during the South African War he served as a civil surgeon. He then became surgeon lieutenant in the Kent Artillery (Volunteers) for four years, and on the establishment of the Territorial Army in 1908 he transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps, and took an active part in raising the ambulance of the Nott’s and Derby Mounted Brigade. During the first world war Mr. Tweedie was present at the opening of the Gallipoli campaign and had command of a large medical organisation in Alexandria; and served all through the expedition to Tripoli against the Senussi. Later he administered a large medical district in Upper Egypt, and commanded the Citadel Hospital in Cairo. He was senior medical officer of a division at the final assault on Gaza, and in the pursuit of the Turks in the Jaffa-Jerusalem line and beyond. He was demobilised with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was mentioned in dispatches, and received the Territorial decoration. He retired later from the Territorial Army with the rank of colonel.


In 1908 he was appointed honorary assistant surgeon to the Nottingham Children’s Hospital, and in 1911 to the Nottingham General Hospital. In 1919 he became honorary surgeon to the Nottingham General Hospital, and in 1920 honorary surgeon to the newly created ear, nose and throat department. In 1920 also he was elected to the Nottingham City Council and served on the Health, Asylum Visiting, and Mental Deficiency Committees.


In his professional life he was an outstanding personality. He was vice-president of the Section of Laryngology and Otology at the Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association held in Nottingham in 1926, president of the Nottingham Medico-Chirurgical Society in 1928, and his other appointments included honorary laryngological and aural surgeon to the Royal Midland Institution for the Blind, local aural specialist to the Ministry of Pensions, and visiting aural laryngological surgeon to the City Mental Hospital (Mapperley Hospital). He was Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, and in 1931 was elected president of the Section of Otology, and at the time of his death was vice president of the Section of Laryngology. He had visited nearly every important aural clinic in Europe and had formed lasting friendships with the leading aural surgeons there. He was a corresponding member of the Austrian Otological Society and Laryngological Society of the Paris Hospitals and for may years was treasurer of the Collegium Oto-rhino-laryngologicum. Besides being a member of the collaborating staff of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology, nearly every issue of which contained some of his transactions, he was also a frequent contributor, and his name was associated chiefly with his articles on labyrinthine nystagmus, vertigo, and the otolithic and neck reflexes.


For many years he was intimately connected with the Nottingham and Nott’s Institute for the deaf and Dumb, and it is largely due to his efforts that the institute was housed in an excellent building on Forest Road, Nottingham. He devoted every moment of his spare time to the welfare of the deaf and dumb, and in work his wife was always his constant and most able assistant. He was also active member of the Medical Committee of the National Institute for the Deaf. He was a prominent Freemason, a past master of the Royal Sussex Lodge, and had also held office in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Nottinghamshire.


Mr. Tweedie had a very special affection for his old medical school, Bart’s, and frequently revisited it. To his work he brought whole-hearted enthusiasm, and any young men interested in aural surgery found him in a very real friend and helper. He was kindly and sympathetic by nature, and full of a genial humour. As an after dinner speaker he was in much demand and had great facility in the telling of amusing stories. His holidays were chiefly spent walking in Scotland and he had a great love of nature and a wide knowledge of all forms of bird life.


In a personal tribute to Mr. Tweedie by Mr. Herbert Bell Tawes, his successor, it was said:- Mr. Tweedie died in the midst of his medical friends, and will long be remembered as a man who was devoted to his work, who lived for his colleagues, both at home and abroad.


B.M.J., April 4th, 1936, page 733

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In another tribute to Mr. Tweedie by Mr. Sydney Scott formerly of the International Collegium of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology it was said:-


The Collegium of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology had to mourn the loss of two of its most prominent British members. It is only a short time after the death of Dr. Albert Gray of Glasgow, one time president of the Collegium, we have to record, with deep regret, the sudden loss of its treasurer, Mr. Alexander R. Tweedie of Nottingham. Tweedie was more than the official who collected subscriptions. His role was that of co-founder, organizer, and moving spirit, in association with Professor Benjamins, its honorary secretary, of Groningen in Holland, where the inaugural meeting was held. Every year since the association has met, and whether at Zurich, London, Frankfurt, Prague, Bordeaux, Stockholm, or Budapest, Tweedie played his part on the council, and with his international colleagues helped to promote the spirit of amity and research. Twenty-two countries were represented by some 127 members, and the papers read were published in the Acta Oto-Laryngologica. Tweedie was right to be proud of the success of this little international body, in which he zealously worked with the inspiration that by it, and through it, he sought a way of attaining truth in the problems which beset the surgeon who attempts to alleviate those afflicted with diseases of the ear, nose and throat.


B.M.J., April 11th, 1936, page 776.


SURGEONS Nottinghams Eminent Surgeons and Physicians