Lives of the fellows

Frederic John Farre

b.16 December 1804 d.9 November 1886
MA MD Cantab FRCP(1838)

Born in London, Frederic John Farre was the son of John Richard Farre, M.D. As a boy, he attended Charterhouse — Thackeray mentions him as "Sampson major" in The Adventures of Philip — before winning a scholarship to St. John’s College, Cambridge. Having graduated as a wrangler in 1827, he received his medical training at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. With the latter, he remained in close association. He was made lecturer on botany in 1831, and on materia medica in 1854, assistant physician in 1836, and physician in 1854. He relinquished this last appointment in 1870 but continued to lecture for another six years. As a teacher, he was straightforward and clear, although handicapped by deafness in later years. He was for many years physician to the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital, of which his father had been a founder, and to Charterhouse, and acted as an examiner for London University.

A second major interest in Farre’s life was his connection with the Royal College of Physicians. He was a Censor and Lecturer on Materia Medica (1843-45), and filled the offices of Treasurer from 1868 to 1883 and Vice-President in 1885. He wrote an (unpublished) history of the College which was stigmatised as inaccurate by Pitman, the Registrar, and by Munk, Harveian Librarian and author of the College Roll; a later Harveian Librarian, Chaplin, however, praised Farre’s work. Farre was joint editor of the first British Pharmacopoeia (1864) and of an abridgement of Pereira’s Materia Medica (1866). In 1848 he married Julia Lewis, by whom he had two daughters. He was the brother of Arthur Farre, F.R.C.P. He died in Kensington.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1886; B.M.J., 1886; St. Bart.'s Hospital Reports, 1886, xxii, p. Xxxiii; Moore, ii, 561; D.N.B., xviii, 230; Al.Cantab., ii, 463]

(Volume IV, page 18)

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