CHRISTOPHERS, Samuel Rickard  [1873 - 1978]

Samuel Rickard Christophers was a major figure in the research of malaria and the development of measures to control the disease.

He was born on 27th November 1873, the son of Samuel Hunt Christophers, Head Statistician at the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, and his wife Kate (née Rickard). At the time of his birth the family lived at 43 Foxhill Street L8 (now demolished it ran from Hill Street to Park Street). They later moved to 11 Fern Grove L8 (1881 census  - now demolished), 10 Lilley Road L7 (1891 census) and 25 Brompton Road L17 (1901 census).

Generally known as Rickard Christophers he was educated at the Liverpool Institute and at age 16 entered the University College, Liverpool as a medical student. As an undergraduate he was greatly influenced by the eminent physiologist and future Nobel Laureate, C.S.Sherrington.

He graduated MB ChB in 1896 and one of the first positions he took was as medical officer on a steamship of the Booth Line which was bound for the upper reaches of the Amazon. The voyage inspired a lifelong attraction to the tropics and a deep interest in tropical disease and on his return to England, from 1898 to 1902, he served as a member of a joint malaria commission of the Royal Society and Colonial Office. In 1902 he joined the Indian Medical Service, working in the research branch for some thirty years and serving in Mesopotamia during the First World War. In those days India was a focal point for research into malaria and Christophers established himself as a pre-eminent figure amongst his fellow malariologists.

Returning to England with the rank of brevet colonel he was made professor of malaria studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He was an honorary physician to King George V from 1927 to 1930 and having been awarded the OBE in 1918, he was knighted in 1931. In 1938 he left London for the department of zoology in Cambridge where he reverted to his studies of entomology, publishing his most noted work in 1960, Aedes aegypti: the Yellow Fever Mosquito. He did not fully retire until he reached the age of 90, spending his remaining years at Broadstone in Dorset where he died, aged 104, on 19th February 1978.

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene presents the Sir Rickards Christophers Medal  every 3 years for work in tropical medicine and hygiene in its broadest sense and in particular for practical and field applications.

10 Lilley Road L7

The Chritsophers' home at the time of the 1911 census.

25 Brompton Avenue L17

The Christophers' family hom,e at the time of the 1901 census.

The Sir Rickard Christophers Medal awarded by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


There is a comprehensive entry for Rickard Christophers in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. There is a limited Wikipedia entry and an internet search will bring up many tributes on various medical websites.