Frederick Walker Mott

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Frederick Walker Mott.jpg
Frederick Walker Mott2.jpg

Sir Frederick Walker Mott KBE FRCP FRS (23 October 1853 in Brighton, Sussex – 8 June 1926 in Birmingham, Warwickshire) was one of the pioneers of biochemistry in Britain.[1] He is noted for his work in neuropathology and endocrine glands in relation to mental disorder, and consequently as a psychiatrist and social scientist. He was Croonian Lecturer to the Royal College of Physicians for the year 1900.[2]

The Maudsley Hospital in London was Mott's idea, inspired by Emil Kraepelin's clinic in Germany, and Mott conducted the negotiations for its funding and construction. He ran the pathology laboratory which was transferred there, and treated shell shock patients during World War I. His reputation had been greatly enhanced by helping establish that 'general paralysis of the insane' was actually due to syphilis, but he has been criticised for overly organic and degenerative assumptions in regard to mental illness including shell shock.[3] After the war, in a lecture to the Eugenics Education Society, he claimed that shell shock was rare in volunteers as opposed to regular conscripted men, and that it was not a new disorder but merely a variation occurring in those already predisposed.[4]

Mott, like Maudsley, appears to have held that mental illness was inherited due to degenerate family lines that worsened until dying out, though his selecting of cases and statistics were questioned by other eugenicists.[5] Mott advanced an overarching theory that mental disease was due to pathology of the sexual reproductive system, as evidenced for example by atrophied testes, causing breakdown of cerebral neurons in certain parts of the brain.[6][7]



  1. ^ Patron of the Royal Institution. Retrieved on 8 June 2014.
  2. ^ "MOTT. Frederick Walker". Who's Who. 59: 1266. 1907.
  3. ^ 'An atmosphere of cure': Frederick Mott, shell shock and the Maudsley
  4. ^ Shell Shocked Britain: The First World War's Legacy for Britain's Mental Health
  6. ^ Evans, B.; Jones, E. (29 May 2012). "Organ extracts and the development of psychiatry: hormonal treatments at the Maudsley Hospital 1923-1938". Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. 48 (3): 251–76. doi:10.1002/jhbs.21548. PMC 3594693. PMID 22644956.
  7. ^ International Relations in Psychiatry: Britain, Germany, and the United States to World War II.
  8. ^ Frederick Mott biography. Retrieved on 8 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Notes". Nature. 54 (1389): 133–137. 1896. Bibcode:1896Natur..54..133.. doi:10.1038/054133a0.
  10. ^ "Sir Frederick Walker Mott". Royal College of Physicians. Retrieved 12 January 2015.

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Academic offices
Preceded by Fullerian Professor of Physiology
Succeeded by