J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 73:213-236 doi:10.1136/jnnp.73.2.213
  • Proceedings

Proceedings of the Association of British Neurologists, University of Oxford, 3 April – 5 April 2002


Dr Pauline Monro

Pauline Monro was an outstanding medical student, gaining first class honours in her BSc at University College London, and then distinction in both medicine and pathology when she qualified from University College Hospital in 1958. She was also a competitive swimmer, winning a gold medal in the World University Games at Dortmund in 1953.

Like many others, she was inspired to go into neurology by JZ Young whom she had heard—while still at school—give the Reith lectures. Despite the challenges at a time when there was less than a handful of female consultant neurologists in the United Kingdom, and an almost fatal illness late in her training, she was appointed a consultant to Atkinson Morley's Hospital, London, in 1970—the first woman to be appointed to the consultant staff of the St George's Hospitals.

At AMH she threw her energies into creating one of the best neurosciences centres in the United Kingdom, encouraging multidisciplinary team meetings before they were fashionable, and developing an integrated neurology course for the medical students. Such was her charisma, that I can actually remember the teaching round when she explained to us the difference between upper and lower motor neuron lesions when I was a St George’s medical student in 1967. She retired from the NHS in 1993 and later became the first woman to be President of the Section of Neurosciences at the Royal Society of Medicine.

As a result of going on the ABN visit to Leningrad in 1988, Pauline became passionately involved with helping the neurological services in what had by then become St Petersburg, as well as in Russia generally. She became so fluent in Russian from a standing start that she can now lecture easily in the language, bought a flat in St Petersburg, …