Browning Alexander was born at the manse, Langbank, Renfrewshire, the son of the Rev. Dr Archibald Browning Drysdale Alexander and his wife, Florence Nightingale. After his school days he went to Caen University where he obtained an honours diploma in French language and literature in 1905. He then returned to Glasgow where he qualified in 1911. He obtained junior appointments as house physician and house surgeon at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and shortly afterwards came to London where he was resident medical officer at the Royal Chest Hospital and subsequently assistant in out-patients at the Royal Free Hospital.
During the 1914/18 War he served as major in the R.A.M.C, in France, becoming acting officer-in-charge of the medical division of No. 10 General Medical Hospital and deputy consultant physician to the Rouen Base. In 1921 he was elected physician to the Prince of Wales’ Hospital at Tottenham and physician to the London Chest Hospital, and a few years later became physician to St. Mark’s Hospital.
While Alexander’s main interests lay in chest diseases, he was essentially a general physician. For many years he was linked with the Institute of Hygiene and subsequently with the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene, of which he was a member of the executive council and later its chairman. After retirement from his hospital posts he became dean and director of the Institute’s laboratory services.
Alexander took his full share in the responsibilities of his hospitals, and his deep interest in people was shown in his investigation of every aspect of his patient’s condition. His hobbies were the theatre, tennis and golf; in them he showed the same kindliness, humour and love of entertainment which endeared him to his colleagues and innumerable friends.
He married Mary Beatrice, the daughter of Lewis Bull, of Suffolk, and had one daughter. He died at his home in Eastbourne.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.med.J., 1962, 2, 995; J. roy. Inst. pub. Hlth, 1962, 25, 262-3 (p); Lancet, 1962, 2, 790; Times, 2 Oct. 1962.]