Interview conducted by Professor Tilli Tansey, for the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, 22 March 2016, in the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Transcribed by Mrs Debra Gee, and edited by Professor Tilli Tansey and Mr Adam Wilkinson. The technical support (filming and production) was undertaken by Mr Alan Yabsley.
Dr Christopher Derrett MBBS MPhil (b. 1947) is a former general practitioner (GP). He graduated in applied physics from Durham University in 1968, and his first permanent job was as a member of the non-clinical scientific staff at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Air Pollution Research Unit. During his time at the Unit he helped develop instrumentation for the measurement and processing of respiratory signals and for the measurement of sulphur dioxide. After his MPhil, for a Thesis entitled ‘Respiratory function: some aspects of its measurement, analysis and interpretation’ in 1977, he enrolled as an undergraduate medical student at the Royal Free School of Medicine. He qualified in medicine (MBBS) in 1982, and went on to GP vocational training in East London. In 1986, he became a GP partner in Newham, and later in Hackney. During his GP career, he has been a GP Trainer, an Appraisal Lead, a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine, and also Head of GP Development for City and Hackney Primary Care Trust. Since retiring from clinical practice, he continues to teach medical students and practice support staff. He also conducts educational work with refugee doctors and GPs in Romania, and is a student of medical history.
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group is funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is a registered charity (no. 210183). The current interview has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award entitled “Makers of modern biomedicine: testimonies and legacy” (2012-2017; awarded to Professor Tilli Tansey).
The interview is part of the History of the Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection).
Access to the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group’s website:
Access to the transcript of this video interview and its related material:
History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), items e2016111-e2016123.
Example of how to cite: Tansey E M (intvr); Yabsley A (prod) (2016) Derrett, Christopher: 01 - Getting interested in science - home and school (22-Mar-2016). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2016112. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Access to the transcript of a longer, audio interview:
Note: Video interviews are conducted following standard oral history methodology, and have received ethical approval (reference QMREC 0642). Video interview transcripts are edited only for clarity and factual accuracy. Related material has been deposited in the Wellcome Library.
© The Trustee of the Wellcome Trust, London, 2016
Dr Derrett has contributed to our Wellcome Witness Seminar on Air Pollution Research in Britain c.1955–c.2000.