BA Camb 1945, MB BCh 1949, MA 1962, MD 1963; MSc Manch 1969; FRCP Lond 1967; FRCP Edin 1968; FRCPsych 1972; DPM Lond 1958.
Kessel, known as Neil, studied at Cambridge University and University College London. After qualifying he held junior positions at University College Hospital, West Middlesex and St Mary Abbotts Hospitals and St Stephens Hospital, Chelsea. In 1953 he joined the staff of the Maudsley Hospital where he was senior house officer, registrar and senior registrar. In 1960 Kessel was honorary senior registrar in the psychiatric department of University College Hospital, the next year moving to Edinburgh where he became assistant director of the Medical Research Council Unit for Research on the Epidemiology of Psychiatric Illness and also honorary senior lecturer in the department of psychological medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Kessel came to Manchester in 1965 when he was appointed professor of psychiatry at the University of Manchester. Kessel was best known for his research into alcoholism. He was consultant advisor on alcoholism to the Department of Health and Social Security and also Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Alcoholism. Kessel was also involved in the Alcoholism Treatment Unit opened at Withington Hospital in 1977. He was dean and postgraduate dean of the Medical School. Kessel was president of MMS in 1992. He died in December 2003.