Dr Hugh John Vivian Morton

Personal details

Dr Hugh John Vivian Morton MA MD FFARCS MRCS LRCP DA

10/10/1909 to 28/10/1981

Place of birth: Stafford, England

Nationality: British

CRN: 715391

Also known as: John

Education and qualifications

General education

King Edward’s School, Stafford; Peterhouse College, Cambridge; St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, London

Primary medical qualification(s)


Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

BA, Cambridge, 1930 (MA, 1935); MBBCh, Cambridge, 1935; DA(RCP&S), 1937; MD, Cambridge, 1942 (Thesis: A contribution to the study of postoperative pulmonary complications).

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

Early appointments included house surgeon, Royal Victoria Hospital, Bournemouth, and both house physician and resident anaesthetist at Royal South Hampshire Hospital, Southampton, but he spent the rest of his career at Hillingdon Hospital, Uxbridge, being one of the very few whole-time salaried anaesthetists of that time. He retired circa 1974.

Professional interests and activities

Although he does not seem ever to have held a University appointment, resisting entreaties to apply for such, Morton (through his clinical, teaching and research activities) must be considered one of the leading academic anaesthetists of his time. An excellent clinician, he taught well (from first principles) and researched widely, being one of the first to take physiological studies into the operating theatre. In the 20 years after WW2, at a time when anaesthesia was developing rapidly, he made many important contributions to the literature (drawing attention to the impact of smoking on post-operative complications as early as 1944). Few UK anaesthetists of the time failed to visit Hillingdon, and many from Europe did so also, his popularity enhanced by his knowledge of foreign languages. He made significant contributions to the organisations of the specialty: AAGBI, honorary secretary; FARCS, vice-Dean; and president, Anaesthetic Section of the RSM. He could have led the other two organisations as well, but declined on the grounds that they would take him away from his hospital and full time practice, his modesty perhaps also being a factor. He gave the Hewitt Lecture in 1954.

Other biographical information

A devoted family man, he was married to Margaret (nee James) and they had two children, his chief relaxation being mountain climbing, every summer holiday being spent in the Alps. He had a remarkable memory, able to recite lengthy tracts of German poetry, and accompany himself on the piano while singing old German songs.

Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: Obituary. BMJ 1982; 284: 988 | Medical Directory | Ancestry.co,uk | Archives of Peterhouse College, Cambridge and Cambridge University Library.