Topics > People in History > James Calvert Spence (1892 - 1954)

James Calvert Spence (1892 - 1954)

James Calvert Spence - click for image credits & licenceJames Calvert Spence  was a pioneering paediatrician who was a founding member of the British Paediatric Association and helped establish the field of social paediatrics. Spence was born in Amble in Northumberland on the 19th of March 1892. He studied medicine at Durham College of Medicine in Newcastle (a forerunner of Newcastle University). During the First World War he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, after which he became a house physician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle. Following a spell working in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, Spence spent most of his remaining medical career working in Newcastle, where he played a key role in developing the field of Social Paediatrics. Notably, his study, "The Health and Nutrition of Certain of the Children of Newcastle upon Tyne between the Ages of One and Five Years" demonstrated inequalities of health were linked with poverty and malnutrition. He also led the "Newcastle Thousand Families Study", one of the first ever longitudinal birth cohort studies. He was knighted in 1950.

Spence died on 26 May 1954.  The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (previously known as the British Paediatric Association ) make an annual award for outstanding paediatricians, named in his honour. The Sir James Spence Institute at the RVI is named after him. In his home town of Amble, the James Calvert Spence College is named after him.

People in History Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) James Calvert Spence College Amble
Sir James Calvert Spence (1892-1954), Professor of Child Health
- Photograph by Elliott & Fry. Photo from the National Portrait Gallery - available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 licence.

Added by
Simon Cotterill
Sir James Calvert Spence
- "b.19 March 1892 d.26 May 1954 MC(1919) Kt(1950) MB BS Durh(1914) MD Durh(1921) Hon DSc W Aust(1948) Hon LLD Cincinnati(1951) MRCP(1921) FRCP(1930) James Spence was born at Amble, Northumberland, the …

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Simon Cotterill


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