Nicholas Barton

Category: 1960s /  All Harkness Stories /  Health & Social Care /  Humanities / 

Nicholas Barton (HF 1968-70) (1935 - 2023) was born in London and evacuated in WWII to Lincolnshire, staying at the station-master’s house near the Lancaster bomber base where his father was posted. He went to school at Westminster, where he coxed the school Eight, and in 1953 went to Cambridge to study medicine at Pembroke.  As a young doctor in London Nicholas met his wife Margaret, who later  described him as “a walking encyclopaedia, with boundless curiosity, who reads constantly”.  In 1960 he wrote a book called “The Lost Rivers Of London” which is still considered the definitive history of London’s rivers.   In 1968 Nicholas took his young family to Los Angeles on his HF fellowship, studying orthopaedics.  He became a consultant in Nottingham in 1971, where he and Margaret brought up their five children. Specialising in hand surgery, his written output was prodigious: over a hundred publications, and seminal books on fractures of the hand and the scaphoid bone. He became Chairman of the British Orthopaedic Association’s Education Committee; President of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand; and Editor of the Journal of Hand Surgery. He delivered prestigious medical lectures such as the Hunterian, the Bradford Eaton, and the Pulvertaft. Much in demand as a speaker on hand surgery at international conferences, he wrote detailed accounts of these trips: 60 diaries covering 2000 pages. His twenty-five years in retirement were spent with his favourite things: his books and his wife.