Posted on: July 17, 2023

Obituary: Prof. Ashley Beresford Price

Ashley Price was educated at University College, Oxford and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School from 1958 qualifying MA, BM, B Ch (Oxon) in 1964. He chose a career in morbid pathology and obtained the degree of MRCPath in 1972. He was Senior Registrar at St Thomas’ Hospital from 1971-72 and was a Research Fellow at St Mark’s Hospital under Dr Basil Morson from 1973-74. He was appointed Consultant Pathologist to the recently opened Northwick Park Hospital and was Head of the Department of Cellular Pathology until his retirement in 2003. It was combined with the Department of Pathology of St Mark’s Hospital directed by Professor Ian Talbot on the move of St Mark’s to the Northwick Park campus in 1995. Dr Price was awarded a personal chair in Gastrointestinal Pathology at Imperial College School of Medicine in 2000. 

Professor Price had a particular interest in inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and became internationally known for his research into various forms of intestinal inflammation including gastritis, pouchitis and pre-pouch ileitis and ischaemic, pseudomembranous, indeterminate, and drug-induced colitis. With Dr Morson he published an important review of the surgical pathology of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in 1975. With Anthony C Smith, he co-authored the Clinical Illustrated Dictionary of Gastroenterology 1987, and was co-author with Professor Talbot and Dr Salto-Tellez of the highly influential book, Biopsy Pathology in Colorectal Disease, 1987 which went to a second edition in 2006.  He was a co-author of the 4th edition of Morson and Dawson’s Gastrointestinal Pathology which was awarded the Society of Authors prize for the best new edition of a multi-author medical textbook of 2002. 

Ashley was an examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists from 1991 and was a Council Member of the College from 1996 to1999. He was the chair of the RCP working party report on guidelines on the role of biomedical scientists in surgical cut-up. He was one of a small expert panel of advisors to the Minister of State for Health for the Commission of Health Improvement enquiry into errors by locum cover at certain Trusts. He was elected President of the Pathology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1999. Between 1993 and 1999 he co-organised the European Gastrointestinal Pathologists Group which had its inaugural meeting in Brussels on “Standards of Reporting in Gastrointestinal Pathology” and was the Treasurer of the European Helicobacter pylori Study Group in 1992 being co-Editor of  “The Year in Helicobacter pylori ” in 1994. In 2001 he became the Chairman of the British Society of Gastroenterology Pathology Section having delivered the Basil Morson Lecture at its annual meeting in 1999. He was much in demand at international meetings as an invited lecturer.

Professor Price was an active supporter of postgraduate teaching. He was Director of Clinical Studies for Imperial College of those undergraduates attending the Northwick Park campus. Additionally he was convenor of the hospital grand rounds. He chaired the North Thames Regional Histopathology Training Committee and was the Regional Speciality Advisor in Histopathology. With Professor Talbot he ran a Workshop on Gastrointestinal Histopathology for trainees, as well as the Gastrointestinal Pathology day on the North Thames Histopathology Course for MRCPath candidates.

Professor Price stood down as Head of Cellular Pathology in the Trust in 2002 and retired from the NHS the next year.

John Nicholls and Stephen Preston

R John Nicholls
Emeritus Consultant Surgeon, St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow.
Professor of Colorectal Surgery, Imperial College, London.
MA (Cantab), M Chir, FRCS (Eng), EBSQ (Coloproctology), hon FRCP (Lond), hon FACS, hon FRCSE, hon FRCS (Glasg), hon ASCRS, hon Acad Nationale de Chir, hon ACPGBI, hon ESCP, hon BSG, hon FRCSI.

Stephen Preston
Head of Media and Digital Production
Heritage Committee Member