Leonard Colebrook

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Leonard Colebrook
Leonard Colebrook.jpg
Leonard Colebrook in 1945
By Walter Stoneman
Born (1883-03-02)2 March 1883
Guildford, Surrey
Died 27 September 1967(1967-09-27) (aged 84)
Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire
Nationality England
Fields Medicine
Alma mater Royal London Hospital
St Mary's Hospital, London
Known for Prontosil[citation needed]
Influences Almroth Wright[citation needed]
Influenced Peter Medawar[citation needed]
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society (1945)[1]
Blair Bell medal[2](1955)
Edward Jenner Medal (1962)

Leonard Colebrook FRS[1] ((1883-03-02)2 March 1883 – 27 September 1967(1967-09-27)) was an English physician and bacteriologist.[3][4][5][6][7]


Colebrook was educated at the Grammar School in Guildford, Westbourne High School in Bournemouth and Christ's College Blackheath in Kent. Colebrook started his medical training at the London Hospital Medical College after which he won a scholarship to St Mary's Hospital, London.[1]


in 1935 Colebrook showed Prontosil was effective against haemolytic streptococcus in childbirth[8][9] and hence a cure for puerperal fever.[10] He campaigned for the use of gloves, mask, and gown before touching patients and showed that chloroxylenol was both an effective disinfectant and much superior to soap and water for hand cleansing. With his sister Dora, he showed that streptococci were more likely to originate from hospital staff than from the patient.[11]

In 1943 the Glasgow Royal Infirmary MRC Burns Unit which he headed moved to Birmingham Accident Hospital.[12] where he established the practice of placing the patients in a near sterile environment.[13]


Colebrook was born in Guildford, Surrey to May Colebrook (1838-1896) and Mary née Gower (1845- ). His father and elder brothers were butchers by trade.

In 1914 he married Dorothy Scarlett Campbell (1875-1941) daughter of John Scarlett Campbell (1828-1897), a judge in the Indian service. After her death he married again, in 1946, Vera Locke (1903-1984), widow of Edward Robert Scovell (1881-1944). There were no children from either marriage.

Hi died in 1967 at his home in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire.


  1. ^ a b c Oakley, C. L. (1971). "Leonard Colebrook 1883-1967". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 17: 90. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1971.0004. PMID 11615432. 
  2. ^ "Presentation of the Blair Bell Medal to DR. Leonard Colebrook by Sir William Gilliatt, K.C.V.O., President of the Royal Society of Medicine". BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 62 (5): 680–682. 1955. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.1955.tb14819.x. 
  3. ^ Dunn, P. M. (2008). "Dr Leonard Colebrook, FRS (1883-1967) and the chemotherapeutic conquest of puerperal infection". Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 93 (3): F246–F248. doi:10.1136/adc.2006.104448. PMID 18426926. 
  4. ^ Parker, M. T. (1994). "Leonard Colebrook and his family". Journal of Hospital Infection. 28 (2): 81–90. doi:10.1016/0195-6701(94)90135-X. PMID 7844352. 
  5. ^ Lowbury, E. J. (1983). "Leonard Colebrook (1883-1967)". BMJ. 287 (6409): 1981–1983. doi:10.1136/bmj.287.6409.1981. PMC 1550201free to read. PMID 6418291. 
  6. ^ Colebrook, V. (1971). "Leonard colebrook". Injury. 2 (3): 182–184. doi:10.1016/S0020-1383(71)80035-9. PMID 4940789. 
  7. ^ "Leonard Colebrook. F.R.S., D.Sc., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.O.G". The Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology of the British Commonwealth. 75 (1): 105–106. 1968. PMID 4865058. 
  8. ^ Turk, J. L. (1994). "Leonard Colebrook: The chemotherapy and control of streptococcal infections". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 87 (12): 727–728. PMC 1294976free to read. PMID 7853294. 
  9. ^ Sue Bale, Vanessa Jones (2006). Wound care nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-7234-3344-6. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  10. ^ Ellis, H. (2011). "Leonard Colebrook and the treatment of puerperal sepsis". British journal of hospital medicine (London, England : 2005). 72 (2): 109. PMID 21378618. 
  11. ^ Graham Ayliffe and Mary English (2003). Hospital Infection from Miasmas to MRSA. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136–137. ISBN 978-0-521-53178-8. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  12. ^ "GLASGOW UNIVERSITY". Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  13. ^ "AIM25 Colebrook, Leonard (1883–1967) Identity Statement". Retrieved 2009-08-05. 

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