Alfred Bigland was one of the rare people who can accept their disability and work to the full capacity of the powers left them. He never recovered from the effects of his service in the First World War in France, Suvla Bay and Egypt, which brought his discharge home before its end.
He was born in Birkenhead, where his father, Alfred Douglas, was M.P. for its East Division. His mother was Emily Jane, née Arkle. From Birkenhead School he had gone to Caius College, Cambridge, and then to Liverpool University, where he was appointed lecturer in clinical medicine shortly after he returned home in 1918. At the same time he became physician to the David Lewis Northern Hospital, where he set up a neurological unit.
In 1923 he joined the staff of the Liverpool Royal Hospital and soon afterwards was made consultant to the Maghull Hospital for Epileptics and the Lancashire Mental Hospital. In his later years he was interested in asthma and ran a very successful unit at the Liverpool Royal Hospital.
Bigland never knew what it was to be well; for two years after the death of his first wife after a long illness he was completely bedridden, yet despite continual set-backs with their financial insecurity he always returned to work with an understanding and an infectious gaiety that lightened his lectures and his ward-rounds. He was a sound all-round clinician with the power of direct simple teaching.
By his first marriage to Phoebe Powell he had two daughters; his second wife, Mary H. Jones, whom he married in 1934, survived him without issue.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.med.J., 1938, 1, 545; Lancet, 1938, 1, 581 (p).]