Remembering Dr William Frankland

Famed allergist Dr William Frankland graduated from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School – now part of Imperial College London – just before the launch of the Second World War, and spent his long career at St Mary’s Hospital. He turned 108 on 19 March, and died on Thursday 2 April 2020.

A pioneer in the field, Dr Frankland popularised the pollen count to help clinicians and patients understand what triggers their seasonal allergies. He also published a number of notable papers, including the findings of a study of vaccines used in the treatment of asthma, which was published when he was just a junior registrar. He continued to offer advice and guidelines to clinical colleagues and even contribute to academic papers in recent years.

“I like to think the reason I’ve lived so long is that I’ve got 'guardian angels'!” Dr Frankland said in a recent interview with Imperial College London. “I’ve come close to death so many times – from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, three and a half years spent as a Japanese Prisoner of War, to experiencing anaphylaxis following a tropical insect bite – but somehow I’ve always managed to miss it and that’s why I’m still here.”

Visit Imperial College London’s website to read a tribute to Dr Frankland by Professor Andrew Rice of Imperial College London and Dr Frankland’s biographer Paul Watkins.