University of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of Sir Arthur Thomson

Scope and Content

Notes, press-cuttings and letters relating to psittacosis; commonplace books; medical publications by Thomson, 1921-1977; miscellaneous writings, 1920-1977; notebooks of notes for book reviews; material relating to the Harveian oration, 1961; letters to Thomson; miscellaneous pamphlets, photographs and press-cuttings; speeches and addresses by Thomson, 1938-1974; book reviews by Thomson, 1944-1974; material relating to the Buckland Club, a University of Birmingham dining society; extracts from the British Medical Journal ; other printed materials, 1960; publications by Thompson, 1921-1959.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administrative/Biographical History

Sir Arthur Peregrine Thomson, 1890-1977, Professor of Therapeutics and Vice-Principal, University of Birmingham. He was born in 1890, the son of a Colonial Service officer in British Guiana. He was educated at Dulwich College and at the University of Birmingham (where he was Queen's Scholar, Ingleby Scholar and Russell Prizeman). He served in France during the First World War with the Royal Army Medical Corps, retiring with the rank of major. He was awarded the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre with star.

He returned to Birmingham after the war to join the consultant staff of the Birmingham General Hospital and built up a country-wide practice as a general physician, notably in the treatment of diabetes. His work on rheumatic fever in children led to the establishment of the Baskerville School. Other research arose from the Birmingham psittacosis epidemic in 1930; and subsequent studies included the problems of ageing and chronic sickness. He published many articles in medical journals.

He was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, 1951-59 and Vice-Principal of the University for much of that time. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1930, a member of the General Medical Council, 1951-65 and President of the British Medical Association, 1958-59. He also served on many Government and professional committees and was Chairman of the Regional Hospital Board, 1962-63. He delivered various prestigious lectures including the Lumleian, the Harveian and the Linacre and received honorary degrees from Edinburgh and Birmingham. His many memorials include the Arthur Thomson Hall in the Birmingham Medical School.

Reference: University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham Bulletin ( No. 301, 3 Oct 1977 ). ; Who was who, 1971-1980

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History ( The University of Birmingham Press. 2000 ).


The collection is arranged in files as described above.

Access Information

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was deposited by 1978.

Other Finding Aids

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Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.