Prof. Thomas Graham Brown

1882 - 1965

Mountaineer and neurophysiologist. Born into a medical family in Edinburgh, Graham Brown's father was a President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Graham Brown attended Edinburgh Academy and then read science and medicine at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Glasgow and then Liverpool. His career was interrupted by service in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War I. After the war, Graham Brown continued his work on the physiology of the nervous system and he accepted the Chair in Physiology at the University of Wales at Cardiff in 1924. Here he spent the remainder of his career as a bachelor-academic.

Graham Brown is best known as a mountaineer and, during the 1920s and 30s, his achievements in the Alps surpassed those of any other British climber. He was to establish and climb three new routes up the Brenva face of Mont Blanc. He was the first to reach the top of Mount Foraker in Alaska (1935) and also climbed in the Himalayas and the Karakorams.

He retired from Cardiff in 1947 and returned to Edinburgh in 1961, where he died. Graham Brown bequeathed his outstanding collection of Alpine and mountaineering literature to the National Library of Scotland and his house as a home for student members of Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club, known as Graham Brown House. This was sold by the University in the 1990s, although they did provide the club with a flat in Nicholson Street which still bears his name.

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