Search

Blue plaque unveiled at Hampstead home of Sir Peter Medawar ‘father of organ transplants’

PUBLISHED: 15:18 14 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:37 14 July 2014

Sir Peter Medwar's children, pictured (from left) 
Alexander Medawar, Louise Stevenson, Charles Medawar and Caroline Garland-Taylor, at the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate their father. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Sir Peter Medwar's children, pictured (from left) Alexander Medawar, Louise Stevenson, Charles Medawar and Caroline Garland-Taylor, at the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate their father. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A Nobel Prize-winning immunologist who is widely considered to be the “father of organ transplantation” has been honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque at his former Hampstead home.

Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar (1915-1987) was responsible for crucial advances in organ transplantation. Picture: © Godfrey Argent Studio Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar (1915-1987) was responsible for crucial advances in organ transplantation. Picture: © Godfrey Argent Studio

Sir Peter Medawar was responsible for pioneering research into the successful transfer of human tissue and organs, notably as chair of zoology at University College London.

English Heritage’s head curator Dr Jeremy Ashbee joined friends, family and colleagues of Sir Peter at a ceremony for the plaque unveiling in Downshire Hill on Friday.

Dr Ashbee said: “Sir Peter was a formidable scientist whose research enabled the successful transplantation of human tissue and organs.

“His research has saved countless lives and this blue plaque celebrates both his groundbreaking work and his life here in London.”

Sir Peter Medawar's daughter Louise Stevenson with theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller at the plaque unveiling. Picture: Nigel Sutton Sir Peter Medawar's daughter Louise Stevenson with theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller at the plaque unveiling. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Born in Brazil, Sir Peter moved to England towards the end of the First World War and graduated with a first in zoology from Magdalen College, Oxford, before staying on to study the science of tissue growth and repair during the 1940s.

He was famously asked to help treat an RAF pilot who had suffered severe burns after his bomber had crashed in north Oxford, which became a seminal moment in his career.

The biologist continued his research at the University of Birmingham until 1951, when he moved to London and joined UCL’s zoology department.

In 1960, Sir Peter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology in recognition of his breakthrough discovery of how the human body can function using foreign tissue.

Actor Andrew Sachs was a friend of Sir Peter. Picture: Nigel Sutton Actor Andrew Sachs was a friend of Sir Peter. Picture: Nigel Sutton

He went on to serve as director of the National Institute of Medical Research but suffered from the effects of a severe stroke and retired in 1970.

He lived in Downshire Hill from the mid 1970s until his death in 1987, at the age of 72, though he also spent many years living at Mount Vernon House, Holly Hill, and Lawn House in Hampstead.

Sir Peter’s children – Caroline, Charles, Louise and Alexander – said that the unveiling was a very happy occasion for the family.

“We remember and admire Peter not only for his great distinction as a scientist, but also as a most generous, brave and delightful man, with a marvellous and playful sense of humour too,” they said.

Friends of Sir Peter, including Kilburn-based actor Andrew Sachs and revered theatre director Sir Jonathan Miller, also attended the blue plaque ceremony.

Mr Sachs, who read to Sir Peter during his illness, said: “It’s wonderful to be here. You couldn’t help but admire Peter’s achievements – he was a kind, funny and truly magical man.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played in the women’s orchestra at Auschwitz will join other survivors at an event to commemorate this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day at JW3, the London Jewish Cultural Centre,in Hampstead.

Yesterday, 10:16

Students from Portland Place School have demonstrated their support for anti-bullying by winning first place in the ‘odd socks day challenge’.

On Monday January 15, the BBC featured the enforcement of council tax in its Inside Out London programme.

January is well underway but it’s not too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Gazette readers this week.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for the dismissal of Inner North London’s senior coroner Mary Hassell after a “deeply disappointing” meeting with community leaders to discuss her refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Andrew Dismore AM, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, has added his voice to the calls for the resignation of Inner North London coroner Mary Hassell.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dinny Hall has designed women’s jewellery for more than 30 years. Described as a ‘little British Tiffany’, she lives in West Hampstead.

PROMOTED CONTENT

For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.

Toni Krok, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, has set up a charity to help people living with the condition and their families adjust to the challenges it brings.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now