The death occurred on October 23 1956 at Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, of Dr. A. E. Barnes, formerly professor of medicine in the University of Sheffield. He was 75 years of age.
Alfred Edward Barnes was born in Sheffield on June 3, 1881, the eldest son of a solicitor's clerk. From the Sheffield Royal Grammar School he entered University College, Sheffield, in 1897 with an entrance scholarship and graduated M.B., B.S. (London) in 1903. Later, after the charter of a university had been granted to University College in 1905, he proceeded to the M.B., Ch.B. of Sheffield University. After graduation he was house-physician at the Royal Infirmary from 1905 to 1907, and was then appointed its first medical registrar. He took the M.R.C.P. in 1907 and was elected F.R.C.P. in 1921. At the Royal Infirmary he became honorary physician in 1911 and senior physician in 1920, holding that position for many years.
Although his early professional years were fully occupied in hospital routine and in widening his experience in clinical medicine, Dr.Barnes was always interested in and realized the importance of clinical research, in which he took an active part. He held a B.M.A. research scholarship in his early years. In the University of Sheffield he was in turn tutor in medicine, lecturer in therapeutics, lecturer in medicine, and, finally, from 1936 to 1946, professor of medicine. During the first world war he was on the staff of the 3rd Northern General Hospital and later in charge of the medical division of the 37th General Hospital in Salonika. He remained on the staff of the Royal Infirmary all his professional life. As a consultant he was a tower of strength to practitioners over a wide area in and around Sheffield. He was a valued and prominent member of the B.M.A., being honorary secretary of the Yorkshire Branch from 1922 to 1928, and he also served on a number of central committees, including the Pharmacopoeia and Joint Formulary Committees.
A man of great energy and strong character and convictions, he could not fail to play a prominent part in shaping the course of medicine in Sheffield. Inspired with the idea of clinical science, and ahead of his time in this respect, he was largely responsible together with friends for the establishment at the Royal Infirmary of a unit of the department of pharmacology, with Professor Edward Mellanby (later Sir Edward Mellanby) at its head-the prototype of many similar departments throughout the country. Indeed, he was willing to sacrifice some of his own beds for the purpose in the conviction that the combination of clinical and laboratory medicine was of paramount importance. His wisdom and foresight in this as in many other things earned him the gratitude of a growing university and of its teachers and students. Professors of preclinical subjects, surprised and delighted at his enthusiasm, constantly sought his help and advice. As an ally in a somewhat poor and very young university he was invaluable in obtaining financial and other assistance, and enabled many who later became famous in older universities to initiate and pursue important research.
Dr. Barnes wrote little, but as a clinician and teacher he was unsurpassed. His boundless energy and enthusiasm could not fail to communicate itself to the students, house-physicians, and registrars. His scrupulously recorded histories, careful examinations, and balanced judgment set a standard difficult to emulate. Perhaps the most important characteristic he was able to convey was the spirit of adventure which he always sought in medicine. A voracious reader and with a mind scintillating with the newest ideas to the end of his days, he led his juniors in one bold clinical experiment after another, though never losing sight of the patient as a human being.
Unsparing to himself, as a colleague he was sometimes critical and, with his fearless mind, often controversial, but always loyal and devoted to his profession, his hospital, and his university, and utterly honest. He was particularly kind and helpful to the struggling youngster, and many a junior colleague will remember with gratitude his support in the first difficult years of consultant life. It was characteristic of him that on his retirement, determined to give his younger colleagues more scope, he left with regret his many friends and his home town. It is pleasant to know that his last years were spent in happiness and contentment in his beloved garden in Scotland.
Dr. Barnes married Miss Jessie Morrison in 1911 and there were two sons of the marriage, one of whom is Dr. J. M. Barnes, director of the Medical Research Council's Toxicology Research Unit.
There are several mentions of Barnes in the mgazines, both SRGS and KES.