Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Jeremiah (Jerry) Noah Morris CBE, 1910–2009
  1. John R Ashton
  1. Correspondence to John R Ashton, Public Health Directorate, NHS Cumbria, Trust Headquarters, Penrith Hospital, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 8HX, UK; john.ashton{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Figure 1

Jerry Morris (1910–2009).

The essence of Jerry's biography can be gleaned from a ‘Cochrane-lite’ review of obituaries that have appeared since his death on 28 October 2009.1–6 The father of post-war British social medicine, he was born at 3 Belgrave Street, Liverpool on 6 May 1910. According to the Financial Times, his father Nathan was a penniless Jewish educator who fled the pogroms of Czarist Russia and took the name Morris from the captain of the ship that brought him to England.1 The family did not stay long in Liverpool, but moved to Glasgow where they settled in a poor neighbourhood amidst the slums. This early experience had a profound effect on Jerry and his brother Max (who became President of the British National Union of Teachers). He never lost his Glaswegian accent.

In addition to his influence as a Hebrew teacher, Nathan Morris's impact on his son's formative years included the imbuing of a life-long commitment to regular exercise. His father would take Jerry and his two brothers for a weekly 4 mile walk, rewarded by an ice cream or a choc-ice if the walk were completed in under an hour. With regard to his political development, Jerry was to tell a particularly opinionated Masters class, of which I was a member (1976–78), that he had been influenced not so much by Marx as by the Old Testament.7 He seems to have volunteered to campaign for the local Labour MP when he was 12, finally joining the Labour Party himself when he was 16. He was to remain a member until Tony Blair took Britain into the Iraq war, when he left to join the Green Party.2 3

Jerry attended Hutcheson's Grammar School and Glasgow University, followed by University College Hospital Medical School in London. …

View Full Text


  • John Ashton is guarantor of this article.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd