John Stopford Papers

Scope and Content

This collection covers Stopford’s covers his time as a medical student at the University of Manchester through to his early medical career. As a medical student he kept immaculate lecture notes in a series of notebooks (STO/3), writing in a neat and legible handwriting and drawing intricate diagrams to illustrate his notes. The notebooks demonstrate Stopford’s anatomical skill from an early age. Stopford’s academic work continues into STO/1 which represents his medical research and lectures. This set of records contains general research notes into medical practice and education, as well as specific notes on intracranial studies (STO/1/1/2) and several sets of glass slides containing images for lectures and for publication (STO/1/4 and STO/1/5). The collection also contains material relating to Stopford’s work with individual patients (STO/2); this has been closed off in accordance with data protection guidelines.

The collection also contains some visual items, including portraits of eminent medical professionals (STO/4/3) and a series of printed anatomical and physiological illustrations which Stopford removed from books (STO/4/1)

A small amount of correspondence can be found in STO/5 and ephemeral material can be found in STO/6.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Sebastian Bach Stopford was born on 25 January 1888 in Hindley Green, Lancashire, the son of Thomas Rinch Stopford and Mary Tyrer (née Johnson). His early education was at Liverpool College and the Manchester Grammar School before proceeding to the University of Manchester in 1906 to study medicine. In 1911 he qualified MB ChB having also won the Dumville Surgical Prize and the Bradley Memorial Scholarship. After qualifying Stopford served briefly as house surgeon to the Rochdale General Infirmary before returning to the University in 1912 as a demonstrator of anatomy. In 1915 he was awarded his MD after submitting a thesis on the blood supply of the brain stem and began lecturing in anatomy that same year.

Stopford specialised in the anatomy of the nervous system and was able to apply his knowledge during WWI in relation to gunshot wounds of the peripheral nerves at the 2nd Western General Hospital. On the departure of Grafton Elliot Smith in 1919 Stopford became professor of anatomy, and so head of the department of anatomy in Manchester, at the age of just 30. He maintained a closer relationship with local hospitals during this time and in 1923 became honorary advisory anatomist to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, a role he held until 1945. He was first appointed to the role of the dean of the medical school in 1923 and held the position until 1927.

From 1928 to 1930 he was pro-vice-chancellor of the university, and from 1931 to 1933 returned to the role of dean. In 1920 he had been made an MBE and 1927 saw him become the first graduate of the Manchester University Medical School to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1934 Stopford was invited to become the University's new vice-chancellor, thus making the move from teaching and research to administration. This move wasn't necessarily supported by his colleagues and he himself was reluctant to relinquish his academic role and so retained his role as chair of anatomy until 1937. After this point he held a personal chair of experimental neurology up until 1956.

His other administrative positions were numerous and included chairman of the Universities Bureau of the British Empire; vice-chairman of the Committee of Principals and Vice-Chancellors; chairman-elect of the General Medical Council; chairman of the council of the Royal Manchester College of Music; vice-chairman of the Goodenough Committee; chairman of the Manchester, Salford and Stretford Joint Hospital Advisory Board; chair of the Manchester Regional Hospital Board; and chairman of the Council of the John Rylands Library. Stopford maintained his commitment to medical science throughout his career and published a number of papers in addition to his main work Sensation and the Sensory Pathway (1930). He worked closely with highly-esteemed colleagues such as Sir Harry Platt, Sir Geoffrey Jefferson, Professor E.D. Telford, and Professor John Morley. Stopford's influence and work were widely recognised and he received honorary doctorates from the universities of Leeds, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, and Durham and was also made a fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians (1942) and the Royal College of Surgeons (1955). He retired in 1956 and received a life peerage in 1958 for which he selected Fallowfield as his barony. Long term health problems took their toll and Stopford died on 6 March 1961.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Acquired from the Museum of Medicine and Health Collections (Archives) in June 2016

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Geographical Names