John Banister is remembered as a very tall man, with a slight stoop. He had a commanding personality, but a kindly air which brought confidence to his patients.
The son of Howard Cottrell and Blanche (Bright) Banister, he was born at Blundellsands, Lancashire, and from its Merchant Taylors School went to Jesus College, Cambridge, and then to Charing Cross Hospital. His junior posts were held at his own hospital, at Queen Charlotte’s and at the Chelsea Hospital for Women; at all three he became eventually senior member of the honorary staff. He served also the Prince of Wales’s Hospital, Tottenham, and the Northwood Memorial Hospital as gynaecologist, and the Florence Nightingale Hospital as obstetric surgeon, and examined for the Universities of Cambridge, London and Aberdeen, for the Society of Apothecaries, the Conjoint Board and the Central Midwives Board.
During World War I he was chief medical officer to the Anglo-French Hospital at Le Treport and surgical specialist to No. 17 British General Hospital, Alexandria. At the B.M.A, meeting of 1935 he was vice-president of the section of obstetrics, and held the same office in the obstetrics section of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Banister was greatly attached to Charing Cross Hospital; he was vice-dean of the medical school in 1928 and at the time of his sudden death chairman of the medical committee. A lovable man of great integrity and courage, he was a skilful operator, a fine debater, a careful and lucid teacher, and that rare type of examiner who could always bring out the best in a candidate. A good oarsman in his early days he became an enthusiastic golfer and ball-room dancer in his later years.
In 1913 he married Jacqueline Marion Marshall Dix, the daughter of Charles Marshall Dix, a solicitor. Their home at Tatsfield was well-known for its delightful hospitality.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.med.J., 1938, 1, 981-2 (p); Charing Cr. Hosp. Gaz., 1938, 38, 67-70; J. Obstet. Gynaec., 1938, 45, 518-20; Lancet, 1938,1, 1025-6.]