Jefferson, Geoffrey 1886 - 1961


(1886-1961) Knight, neurosurgeon

Sir Geoffrey Jefferson was born in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, on 10 April 1886. He was educated at Rochdale Collegiate School and Manchester Grammar School, before reading medicine at Manchester University in 1904. After qualifying in 1909, Jefferson took up house appointments in Manchester and London.

After getting engaged to Gertrude May Flumerfelt (1882-1961), Jefferson moved to British Columbia in 1914 where the couple set up a joint surgical and medical practice. However, with the outbreak of the First World War soon after, the Jeffersons returned to England to help with the war effort in 1916. Jefferson served as a surgeon in St Petersburg and Lutsk, Russia, where he received the Russian Order of St George for his work, before moving to a general hospital near Boulogne, France in 1918 where he specialised in head and spinal injuries. He finally returned home in January 1919.

Jefferson took up an appointment as general surgeon at the Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester, before moving to Edinburgh to join fellow surgeons Hugh Cairns (1896-1952) and Norman Dott (1897-1973). In 1926, Jefferson returned once again to Manchester, where he developed a reputation as an expert on head wounds, spinal injuries, and epilepsy. In 1939, Jefferson was invited to take up the first chair of neurosurgery at Manchester University, and helped to organise civilian neurosurgical facilities throughout the country as part of the Emergency Medical Service, a state-run network of free hospital services organised by the Ministry of Health during the Second World War (1939-1945). After the war, Jefferson became a key consultant for the planning of neurosurgical services within the newly-established National Health Service (NHS).

Jefferson died in Manchester on 29 January 1961, shortly after suffering a heart attack. He had three children.