Lives of the fellows

Charles William Buckley

b.10 October 1874 d.28 May 1955
MB BS Lond(1898) MD Lond(1899) MRCP(1923) FRCP(1933)

Charles Buckley, who was to become an outstanding authority on rheumatic diseases, was born in Derby into a family which entitled him to the hereditary freedom of the city by lineal descent. His father was Henry Buckley; his mother had been Mary Haslam. He was to develop into a distinguished figure of moderate height, with bushy eyebrows, a high domed forehead and such a thoughtful, serious expression that Sir Humphry Rolleston said of him that ‘no one could ever be as wise as Buckley looked.’ But he was a man of wide education and an omnivorous reader from his youth, when private tuition prepared him for an entrance scholarship to St. Mary’s Hospital and for the Kerslake scholarship in pathology and bacteriology.

After house posts at St. Mary’s and in the fever service of the Metropolitan Asylums Board he settled in practice in his native county and slowly built up a reputation in the new field of rheumatology, that did not receive recognition until his appointment as physician to the Devonshire Royal Hospital at Buxton in 1912 and to membership of its management committee in 1917. It was due to his work as an honorary major at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Buxton in World War I that a large sum of money came to the University of Manchester for rheumatism research. Further well-deserved recognition followed.

He was for many years associated with the Buxton and District Hospital, and became lecturer to the British Postgraduate Medical School, examiner in hydrology to what was later the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Empire Rheumatism Council, a life member of the Heberden Society, and an honorary member of the American Rheumatism Association.

Buckley was an excellent clinician and a magnificent teacher, whose rather pontifical manner of address disappeared completely when he talked with interested juniors; yet his greatest contribution to his specialty was not his immaculately presented lectures and writings on such aspects of it as ankylosing spondylitis (.Proc. roy. Soc. Med., 1932, 26, 105-10), but his editing of the College’s Reports on chronic rheumatic diseases and of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. In his busy life he found time for his hobbies of archaeology and fishing, and for service to the town council of Buxton; when he became an honorary freeman in 1947 a fellow alderman said no man had given greater service.

In 1902 he married Lilian, daughter of Hugh Hughes, of Manchester. They had one son, who died in 1954, and three daughters.

Richard R Trail

[Brit.med.J., 1955, 1, 1431-2 (p); Lancet, 1955, 1, 1228-9 (p); Times, 31 May 1955.]

(Volume V, page 61)

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