Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Anaesthetics Department

Viscount William Richard Morris Nuffield 1887 - 1963

Industrialist and PhilanthropistViscount William Nuffield

William Nuffield began his working life as an assistant in a bicycle shop, went on to manufacture Morris motor vehicles and retired as Chairman of the British Motor Company. During his lifetime he gave away more than 32 million pounds.

Among his early bequests was 2 million pounds to set up four postgraduate medical chairs in Oxford in 1936; Anaesthetics was the most revolutionary of these and Robert MacIntosh the first Professor.

The Nuffield Foundation offered funding for the new position of Associate Professor of Anaesthetics at Sydney University in 1960. When the position was advertised it was stated that the successful applicant would work under the direction of the Professor of Surgery. This resulted in a flurry of correspondence involving Sir Robert MacIntosh, Professor John Loewenthal (then Professor of Surgery and prime mover in the funding) and Lord Nuffield. The problem was resolved by the Foundation increasing the funding to establish a full Professorship. Douglas Joseph was appointed as the first Nuffield Professor in 1962. In 1965 he proposed that the Nuffield Lecture Theatre be so named.

Lord Nuffield was a regular visitor to Australia from the 1920's until his death. He was awarded the following honours in this country:-

  • Doctor of Laws ad eundem gradum University of Sydney 1938
  • Doctor of Laws honoris causa University of Melbourne  1949
  • Doctor of Science honoris causa NSW University of Technology 1952



Thanks to Dr Deane Bowring for compiling this information during his provisional fellowship in 1994.