Janet Lane-Claypon

A pioneer of epidemiology who was the first woman to obtain a scholarship from the BMA, lived in Seaford

A medical pioneer, Dr Janet Lane-Claypon, who moved to Seaford after her marriage in 1929, developed a method of mass epidemiological research known as “case-control study”. It involved questioning hundreds of people to find out the causes of particular diseases.

Neville Chamberlain, as Minister of Health in 1923, commissioned her to investigate the causes of breast cancer. This was some of the first work to be undertaken on the subject and she identified that women were more susceptible to the disease if they remained childless or did not breastfeed.
She also established that early diagnosis and treatment was the main key to survival. Many of her findings are still being
used today.
Dr Lane-Claypon married Sir Edward Rodolph Forber, who was then the Deputy Secretary of Health. They lived in “The White House”, at the junction of Claremont Road and Belgrave Road. After Sir Edward retired the couple moved into the Manor House at Bishopstone.
Dr Lane-Claypon was awarded her science doctorate in 1905 and was the first woman to receive a scholarship from the British Medical Association. She obtained a further scholarship in 1910 with the Lister Institute for Preventative Medicine. She died aged 90 and is buried in  Bishopstone churchyard.
In 2004 a review of her important work appeared in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

First published in the Martello Magazine, Spring 2014, by Kevin Gordon