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Margaret Campbell Barnet was born in Sunderland in 1917, the daughter of Peter Campbell Barnet and his wife Margaret Bell. Educated first at Sunderland Church High School, she went on to study medicine at St Andrew’s University in Scotland and was awarded her MB and ChB in 1941.
She began her career in Birmingham working with the public health service but in 1949 she moved to York to take up a joint appointment with the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust (JRVT) and the North Riding Health Authority continuing the investigations of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree into the health of mothers and children in rural areas. This began a lifelong association with the Rowntree Trusts and she was also active in the affairs of Hartrigg Oaks, the retirement community created by the Rowntrees at their model village of New Earswick, near York.
In 1955 she transferred to what was then the York public health service. She specialised in children’s health, in particular the health of disabled children, and continued this work after her move to the newly created North Yorkshire Area Health Authority in 1974. There she also became a specialist in community medicine.
A scholar of medical history, Dr Barnet published a number of articles on the medical history of York in the ‘Medical History’ journal. These included ‘Matthew Allen, MD. (Aberdeen) 1783-1845’ in 1965, ‘The Barber Surgeons of York’ in 1968, and ‘The 1832 Cholera Epidemic in York’ in 1972. She was also active in York Medical Society, serving as Secretary for nineteen years and as President in 1977.
Beyond the field of medicine, Dr Barnet was churchwarden of the city’s St Olave’s Church and chairman of the Local Committee of the Church Schools Company, who founded York College for Girls in 1908, as well as a governor of the national Church Schools Company in London.
Dr Barnet retired in 1982 and later moved to Hartrigg Oaks. She died on 18 February 2008.
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Tony Dale, 'Margaret Campbell Barnet' in the British Medical Journal (2008).
Borthwick Institute, 'Margaret Barnet Archive.'
York Medical Society (http://www.yorkmedsoc.org/past-presidents.html)