REES, Gordon Jackson  [1918 - 2001 ]

Gordon Jackson Rees, known to colleagues and friends as Jack, was an anaesthesiologist who gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in paediatric anaesthesia.

Born in Oswestry on 8th December 1918 he studied medicine at Liverpool University, qualifying in 1942 and serving as a medical officer in the RAF. After the war he took a course in anaesthetics at Oxford before returning to Liverpool to work at the Royal Southern Hospital. It was there that he worked with Thomas Cecil Gray on the development of the ‘Liverpool Technique’ which combined neuromuscular blocking drugs with light general anaesthesia. He was persuaded by a surgeon at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Isabella Forshaw, to develop anaesthesia for children. At that time surgery on children had to be performed rapidly as they did badly after prolonged anaesthetics. His application of the Liverpool Technique allowed surgeons to take as long as they needed to carry out increasingly complex procedures.

His ground-breaking work brought him recognition across the globe. He received many awards and honours and was the first President of the European Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists.

He married Betty Schofield in 1943 and they had four children, one son, Andrew, becoming Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen. His nephew, Martin Rees, became Astronomer Royal in 1995.

Just after the war Jack Rees was living at 5 Huskisson Street L8, then at 13 Croxteth Grove L8. He lived for a number of years at 9A Fulwood Park L17.

13 Croxteth Grove L8

Rees' home c.1948.

9A Fulwood Park L17

Rees' home for a number of years.


Rees recorded a series of interviews about his life and work for Oxford Brooks University which are available to view online. There is informative article about him, on the website of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and a brief entry on Wikipedia.