Tag Archives: H.W. Acland

Oxford Medical Society

The Oxford Medical Society was formed in 1892. The minutes of their first meeting, held on 14th Oct. 1892, state that ‘the objects of the Society be the discussion of subjects relating to the Science and Practice of Medicine & Surgery’. All members of the medical profession working in Oxford were eligible to become members, and students were allowed to attend meetings as associates. The success of the society over the years lay in its combination of practitioners and researchers, and its inclusion of both ‘town and gown’.

Sir Henry Acland was invited to be the first president and accepted with the caveat that his advanced age had slowed him down somewhat, ‘I shall if selected feel it a pleasure to do my best and feel it a duty to accept the kind honor. But I am in my 78th year – and tho’ more deeply interested than ever in the wonderful progress of Medicine in every direction, I cannot feel the power to keep pace with that advance, do what I will’.

Letter from H.W. Acland, Oct. 1892

In fact Acland resigned his position after a few months in objection to the practice of smoking at meetings: a lone voice in the medical profession at the time.

The records of the Oxford Medical Society have been on deposit at the Bodleian since 1959. A recent deposit by the Secretary, Dr. Alex Gatherer, has brought the collection up to date, and it now covers all papers from the Society’s inception in 1892, to its merger with the Oxford Medical Alumni in 2005. The catalogue is available online.

Spot the Regius Professor!

Group outside the Physiology Laboratory, 1894

This lovely informal photograph taken outside the Physiology Laboratory c.1894, was found among the papers of Kenneth Franklin collected by Hugh Sinclair, nutritionist, and recently catalogued by the Saving Oxford Medicine team. Along with four small dogs hidden in the picture, there are also three Regius Professors of Medicine. The out-going Regius Professor, H.W. Acland (1857-1894), is the elderly gentleman, seated, centre right. His successor, John Scott Burdon Sanderson (1895-1904), is the slightly less elderly gentleman, seated centre left. Whilst the up and coming Regius Professor, Edward Farquhar Buzzard (1928-43), sits in the wings, front right.

A postcard from Farquhar Buzzard to Kenneth Franklin, written in 1936, adds further information about the photograph, ‘Three Regii in one group!…they did squabble in those days! & the ‘Burdon’ seems to have been a bit difficult at times’.

The online catalogue can be viewed here, and the papers can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.