Tribute to Brian William Burt

Brian William Burt, known to many as Bill, was a tireless, cheerful centre of gravity in the Chelsea College pharmacy department for more than 30 years, retiring before it merged with King’s College. Bill left an indelible impression on generations of students, devoted as he was to their welfare, both academic and personal. He was an immensely popular teacher. He was also very active outside pharmacy, having wide cultural interests, and was an enthusiastic outdoorsman: very much a well rounded person.

The profession has benefited from his many contributions to pharmaceutical science, notably in the fields of formulation and dermatology. From his background in food technology, through his lifelong interest in cosmetology, to his involvement with a Pharmaceutical Society working party on patient screening and counselling, this modest man put his learning, experience and wisdom at the service of students, colleagues, fellow professionals and the public at large.

Following formal retirement he remained, into his 80s, almost as active as ever, keeping thoroughly up to date, doing locums in both hospital and community pharmacy, serving on health service committees, advising the Medicines Commission and continuing to teach as a visiting lecturer in pharmacy practice at King’s College Department of Pharmacy.

Bill was a major force in curriculum development, initially in the physical pharmacy and biopharmacy undergraduate courses. Then, along with Norman Harris at Chelsea College in the late 1970s, he pioneered clinical pharmacy teaching in this country — in my opinion his most significant contribution. I have lost my two most influential mentors in the space of a few weeks, Norman Harris having died in September.

We will miss Bill’s optimism and humour, his imperturbability and his common sense. But most of all we will miss his humanity. Both academically and intellectually, he was a scholar in the fullest sense.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, October 2015, Vol 295, No 7882;295(7882)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069569

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