Walter Morley Fletcher FRS (1873-1933)

Sir Walter Morley Fletcher was the very first Secretary of the MRC and regarded as its guiding spirit. He was a physiologist and worked on muscle respiration, using techniques from biophysics and biochemistry to elucidate the chemical exchanges in contracting muscle.

  • 1873 Born in London 21 July
  • 1891 Studied physiology at Trinity College, Cambridge
  • 1897 Elected to Trinity Fellowship. Started clinical training at St Barts Hospital 1914 Became Secretary of the Medical Research Committee
  • 1915 Elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society. Royal Society Croonian Lecturer 1918 Knighted
  • 1933 Died 7 June
This bust of Walter Morley Fletcher was sculpted by Dora Clarke for the National Institute for Medical Research in London, UK.
This bust of Walter Morley Fletcher was sculpted by Dora Clarke for the National Institute for Medical Research in London, UK.

Gowland Hopkins said:

The interests of the National Institute were very near to [Fletcher’s] heart and he felt great pride in the important gains to knowledge which have arisen from the devoted and brilliant labours of its staff. The Institute has been a home of the team spirit in research. [1] 

After his death a memorial fund was established which funded both a memorial statue and a hall for meetings and lectures at NIMR – the Fletcher Memorial Hall.


  1. Memorial to the late Sir Walter Morley Fletcher (1873-1933) : secretary of the Medical Research Council, 1914-1933 (Oxford, England: Medical Research Council, 1937).

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