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NPG x30884; Vincent Archibald Patrick Cronin; Archibald Joseph Cronin; (Robert Francis) Patrick Cronin by Bassano


Posted on August 21, 2013 by Editorial Staff

Scottish novelist, an accomplished storyteller, A. J. Cronin practised as a doctor over a decade before devoting himself entirely to writing. Cronin gained his fame initially with ‘Hatter’s Castle’ (1931), and later produced several bestsellers drawing from his experiences as a doctor. Archibald Joseph Cronin was born in Cardross, and spent  a shadowed childhood by the death of his father and poverty. His mother tried to struggle forward alone but in 1914 he entered the Glasgow University Medical School and graduated as a doctor. During World War I Cronin served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy, becoming a sub-lieutenant and after the war he worked as a ship’s surgeon on a liner bound for India, and then served in various hospitals. Cronin continued to write until he was in his eightieth year. In 1921 he married his early love, Agnes Mary Gibson, left Scotland and moved with his wife, who was also a doctor, to a small mining town in South Wales. There the couple spent three years. Cronin was awarded his D.Ph. in 1923 and the next year, appointed Medical Inspector of Mines. At this time, he continued his studies, researching occupational diseases in the coal industry. These experiences formed the basis of the novels and bestsellers   and The Citadel (1937), which made Cronin famous. It is in fact thanks to these novels that a basis of the English National Health Service was created. The Stars Look Down was a socially charged novel, which examined injustices in a North England mining community. A very important cut of the ribbon.