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Inspiring Individuals

Stephanie Ross continues her series of articles on some inspiring individuals among Barbican residents. Professor John Blandy, the subject of this article, tragically passed away while the article was being written so it also serves as an obituary for a remarkable man.


pon meeting Professor John Blandy CBE, his understated strength of character is very clear. As soon as he talks you

feel a complete reassurance and confidence in him, you know that behind his graceful dignity there resides tremendous depth of knowledge .

As Consultant Urologist of international acclaim at the Royal London Hospital until 1992 when he retired, his hospital hours were long and commitments to research/professional advances were many. When he returned home he would always spend much time in his study writing and illustrating a wide range of urological books. However, if one of his children interrupted him he would always stop writing, turn his swivel chair and take the time to talk. When on holidays and at

weekends he would put the children to bed at night with wonderfully imaginative stories, some of which he wrote into books for his family, complete with beautiful, careful illustrations. His constant childhood doodles and sketches developed into exceptional artistic talents and he might well have become an artist instead of a doctor. On Sunday evenings John would sometimes organise a film show of slides for his wife and children or participate in a family “concert” - John on harmonica and the children playing the instruments they were learning at the time. He enjoyed making things at home: a slide for his children, paintings and sculptures of

John Blandy

his family, even rewiring the family Morris 12!

John was born in Calcutta in 1927. His father, Nicolas, had joined the Indian Civil Service, receiving the award of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire in 1942 and was an inspiring figure to his son. For reasons of health, education and safety he sent the three-year-old John to school in Britain, lodging him with the local vicar and family until aged six when he boarded. Sometimes in the summers John’s parents would come over to be with

their children. John enjoyed school, there were strong naval links, an inspiring Head Teacher and discipline was based on kindness and encouragement. When war broke out in 1939 John returned to his Calcutta family life of Clubs, politics and boarding school in Darjeeling, where friends came from a colourful mix of backgrounds and kids climbed mountain waterfalls in the dry season.

By September 1942 his father had died and costly medical bills and pension payment delays saw mother,


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