Albert Rutherford Paterson

Biography of Albert Rutherford Paterson

Albert Rutherford Paterson was born on 13th July 1885 in Glasgow. Albert’s father Daniel S. Paterson was a draper who owned a shop on 517 Great Western Road. Albert lived at his parental home at 5 Hillhead street during his first year at the University of Glasgow studying for his MB ChB. He later moved to 8 Northbank Terrace in Kelvinside, Glasgow during his final years at the University.

Albert began at in the University in 1903, working towards his medical degree. He enrolled for classes in chemistry, zoology and anatomy in his first year. He received class prizes for his work in chemistry, zoology and anatomy in 1905-6. Albert continuously demonstrated a high level of intelligence and a strong work ethic throughout university passing exams on first attempt. Albert ultimately graduated from the University of Glasgow with commendation on 14th July 1908 after passing exams in surgery, midwifery and clinical medicine amongst others. He later went on to obtain the Cambridge D.P.H and DTM&H in 1920 further demonstrating his dedication to medicine.

After University, Albert worked as a house-surgeon and house-physician at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He also held positions as a resident physician at the City of Glasgow Fever hospital and house-physician at the Glasgow Royal Maternity and Women’s Hospital. Just before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Albert joined the West African Medical service and went to Nigeria as a medical officer. He then entered the Royal Army Medical Corps when the war began, serving in Cameroon. Paterson's entry on the University Roll of Honour may be viewed here.

After the war Albert traveled to Kenya where he became a respected medical officer. Upon recognising his dedication to the field, Albert was promoted to deputy director of sanitary services in Kenya where he worked for 13 years before taking over as director when his colleague J.L Gilks retired. Albert himself retired as director in 1941 however continued to serve as president of the Kenya Branch of the British Medical Association from 1946 to 1948.

Albert was married to Madeline Ruth Alice in 1931 with whom he had four children; three sons and one daughter. He is also noted for being a celebrated medical author writing books and documents including; The Book of Civilization (1935), The Human Situation in East Africa and The Case for the Appointment of a Royal Commission on Health and Population in His Majesty’s Dependencies in Africa. An obituary written in the British Medical Journal on 14th November 1959 states “Dr. A. R. Paterson was in many ways a remarkable man and one who left his mark upon Kenya during some of the colony’s most important years of development”.

Dr Albert Rutherford Paterson died in his home in Nairobi on 26th August 1959 at the age of 74.


Albert Rutherford Paterson
Born 13 July 1885.
Died 26 August 1959.
University Link: Graduate
GU Degree: MB, 1908; 1903 - 1908;
Additional Information: R3/1/1 (vol 2)
Record last updated: 13th Feb 2019

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