Dr Leonard Goodwin CMG FRS in interview with Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

(Interview 2)

Part of the Medical Sciences Video Archive collection

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Interview participants

Leonard Goodwin (Interviewee) : Director, Nuffield Laboratories of Comparative Medicine, Institute of Zoology, The Zoological Society of London, 1964-80; Director of Science, Zoological Society of London, 1966-80; Consultant, Wellcome Trust, since 1984.

Gordon Wolstenholme (Interviewer)


Oxford Brookes University, The Royal College of Physicians

Interview summary

College of the Pharmaceutical Society, London (School of Pharmacy); Professor J Harold Burn; C M Wenyon; the Wellcome Foundation; leishmaniasis; pentavalent antimony compounds as chemotherapeutic agents; Pentostam; J C Brown; Charles Kellaway.


Dr Len Goodwin FRS begins the interview with a discussion of his family background, growing up in Hampstead, London before the Second World War, and an early interest in science leading to a decision to study pharmacy. He speaks of taking courses in botany and zoology at University College, London before starting on the new degree course in pharmacy in 1933 at the College of the Pharmaceutical Society in London (later the School of Pharmacy). After qualifying in 1935, he was appointed to a demonstratorship in pharmacy by Professor J Harold Burn, who encouraged him also to study physiology and then medicine at University College. The interview moves on to his appointment in 1939 to the scientific research staff of the Wellcome Foundation, which was an important world centre for tropical medicine. Dr Goodwin speaks about the distinguished protozoologist, C M Wenyon, who was the director of the laboratories of the Wellcome Foundation, and he also provides some background information to the Wellcome Foundation and the organisation of the Wellcome building in the Euston Road. He then goes on to talk of his marriage in 1940 to Marie Coates, whom he met at the School of Pharmacy. The interview progresses to his work on pentavalent antimony compounds used in the treatment of the protozoal infection, leishmaniasis, the development of an assay system for leishmanicidal activity using the spleen of the Syrian hamster, and the origin of the first colony of Syrian hamsters in Europe. Dr Goodwin speaks of the development of the antimony compound, Pentostam, by the Wellcome Foundation as part of the wartime effort by the British pharmaceutical industry to replace German products, and its use in treating service personnel. In the final part of the interview there is discussion of C M Wenyon being succeeded by J C Brown and then Charles Kellaway, who appointed John Boyd as director of the Wellcome Laboratories of Tropical Medicine (WLTM), as part of a reorganisation of the research activities of the Wellcome Foundation. Within the WLTM, two groups were directed to investigate new drugs for treating tropical diseases: one led by Dr Goodwin and concerned with protozoal infections, and the other led by Owen Standen, concerned with helminth infections.

Subject(s) covered


Topic(s) of interest

Wellcome Trust,

Date recorded


Location of interview

Oxford, UK

Length of recording


Format of recording


Notes on recording

Digitisation from VHS rather than mastertape. Some audio interference.



MSVA reference number


Unique ID



Goodwin, L. and Wolstenholme, G. (1996) Dr Leonard Goodwin CMG FRS in interview with Sir Gordon Wolstenholme. Available at: https://doi.org/10.24384/000457 (Accessed: ).

Related Resources

Interview 1

Published by Oxford Brookes University
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  • Owner: Eleanor Grace Possart
  • Collection: MSVA
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live