Aldridge, Vivian Joan 1915 - 1980


(1915-1980), radiographer

Vivian Joan Aldridge (née Vivian Joan Dovey, later Vivian Joan Walter) was born in Edmonton, Middlesex on 12 August 1915. She trained as a radiographer and received a diploma of M.S.R. (Membership of the Society of Radiographers) before taking up a position as scientific officer at the Burden Neurological Institute, Bristol, an independent research unit specialising in the investigation and treatment of neurological, psychological, and psychiatric disorders.

After the Second World War, Dovey played a key role in the Burden’s expanding electroencephalographic (EEG, relating to the measurement of the electrical activity of the brain) research programme. She collaborated closely with colleagues on the use of the EEG to identify sub-cortical tumours, as well as in investigations of the effect of stroboscopic light on the electrical activity in the human brain. In 1946, Dovey was part of the Burden team which discovered that seizures similar to those encountered in cases of epilepsy could be produced in ‘normal’ subjects when flickering lights were applied at particular frequencies. She also co-authored several key papers which helped to establish the Burden’s credentials in these areas, including in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry (1944) and Nature (1946).

Dovey married neurophysiologist and Burden colleague William Grey Walter (1910-1977) in 1947, with whom she had one son, Timothy Walter (1949-1976). The couple separated in 1960, and later divorced in 1973. Following her separation from Walter, Vivian lived with greengrocer Keith Aldridge, whose surname she eventually took. She died in 1980.