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

15:18 14 July 2014

Sir Peter Medwar

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

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 StudioNobel 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 SuttonSir 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 SuttonActor 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.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Cllr Theo Blackwell, Camden's Chief of Finance, says Camden will lose out to local authorities in the wealthy home counties on a £300 government 'Superfund@ designed to soften the impact of the cuts

Camden Labour say they are set to lose out on a £300 million government “superfund” designed to soften the impact of the cuts, whilst local authorities in the leafy home counties will benefit the most.

Police are investigating attempted child abductions

A man will appear in court following allegations that he approached a number of schoolchildren in Hornsey and attempted to convince them he was a police officer.

Dr Aggarwal giving Chloe tips on delivering babies

In the midst of the contract dispute Ham&High reporter, Chloe Chaplain, spent two days shadowing junior doctors at the Whittington Hospital.

Jeffery Mann died in September last year

Friends of a man who took his own life after being told the mental health support he received would be withdrawn told Camden Council this week they feel ignored and fearful for their future.

An air ambulance landed in Fortune Green after reports a man was hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road. Picture: Harvey Lee Sutton

A man has been taken to hospital with a head injury after being hit by a vehicle in Finchley Road this afternoon.

Edmond Fenton cleared of fraud

A former television executive was today found not guilty of “pillaging” more than £400,000 from the bank accounts of his 100-year-old cousin and selling her house without her consent.

Crouch End Hill Food & Wine following stabbing

A mother has thanked her Crouch End customers for their “unbelievable” support after her son was stabbed during an attempted robbery at their family-owned store.

Yesterday, 17:25
Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors protested on the picket lines of the Whittington and Royal Free hospitals today after staging a second walk-out.

Most read news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today