Buzzard, Sir (Edward) Farquhar, first baronet 1871-1945, physician, was born in London 20 December 1871, the eldest of the four sons of Thomas Buzzard, the eminent neurologist, by his wife, Isabel, daughter of Joseph Wass, of Lea, Derbyshire. He was educated at Charterhouse, where he was awarded a leaving exhibition in science, and at Magdalen College, Oxford. In his early days he was renowned for his prowess at Association football. He played for the university (1893-4) and for the Old Carthusian eleven, winners of the Amateur Cup (1894, 1897), the London Senior Cup (1895-7), and the London Charity Cup (1896). After obtaining a fourth class in natural science (physiology) in 1894, he completed his medical training at St. Thomas's Hospital, where he won the Mead medal in 1897. From St. Thomas's he went to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Queen Square, which was then in its hey-day as a centre of neurological study and research. After acting as house-physician to J. Hughlings Jackson [qv.] he held successively the appointments of medical registrar and pathologist and in 1905 was elected assistant physician, a post which he held until 1922. In 1903 he became assistant physician to the Royal Free Hospital, an appointment which was followed later by that of full physician and lecturer in medical pathology. In 1910 he returned to St. Thomas's Hospital as physician to out-patients, and was for eleven years assistant physician to the Belgrave Hospital for Children. He was also physician or consulting physician to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Millbank, the Royal Hospital for Incurables, the Throat Hospital, Golden Square, and the Artists' Annuity and Benevolent funds.
Buzzard was a keen clinical observer and he had in a marked degree the qualities of a good consultant. Although his name is not associated with any important discovery or notable addition to knowledge, he made several valuable contributions to neurology, such as the clinical differentiation and morbid anatomy of sub-acute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, in which he was associated with Frederick Eustace Batten and James Collier. His literary output was considerable but was mostly in the form of contributions to textbooks. During the war of 1914-18 he was consultant to the London Command, with the rank of colonel, and in 1918 he edited the Military Medical Manuals of Athanassio-Benisty on Clinical Forms of Nerve Lesions and Treatment and Repair of Nerve Lesions and of J. Babinski and J. Froment on Hysteria or Pithiatism. With Dr. J. G. Greenfield he wrote a monograph on The Pathology of the Nervous System (1921). He was Lettsomian (1926), Maudsley (1932), and Earl Grey memorial (1939) lecturer.
In 1928 when at the height of his career as a consultant Buzzard accepted an invitation to succeed Sir A. E. Garrod [qv.] as regius professor of medicine at Oxford. He soon became immersed in medical and academic activities of all kinds, and he greatly strengthened the importance and influence of the Oxford medical school.
In his presidential address to the British Medical Association at its Oxford meeting in 1936, Buzzard outlined the ambitious dream of a medical school primarily devoted to clinical research and to the training of men who would pass on to be research workers and teachers. Thanks to the vast benefactions of Lord Nuffield, whose physician, friend, and adviser he was, this dream became a reality. Buzzard took the leading part in the foundation of the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research (1935) and the scheme for enlarging the scope of the Oxford medical school (1937). As the scheme developed he became more and more convinced of the importance of the study of preventive medicine and of environmental conditions and, as the first chairman of the Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust, he was largely instrumental in directing its activities into the field of social medicine. He was responsible for the foundation of the chair and institute of social medicine at Oxford to which J. A. Ryle [qv.] was appointed in 1943.
Buzzard's term of office as regius professor was extended five years beyond the normal age of retirement and he did not become emeritus professor until 1943. At the Royal College of Physicians, of which he was elected a fellow in 1906, he was Goulstonian lecturer (1907), councillor (1922-3), censor (1923-4, 1927), representative on the General Medical Council (1927-9), and Harveian orator (1941). In 1928 he was a member of the team attending King George V in his serious illness; from 1932 to 1936 he was one of the physicians-in-ordinary; and from 1937 physician-extraordinary to King George VI. He was appointed K.C.V.O. in 1927, and in 1929 was created a baronet. In 1937 he stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate for the university of Oxford. He was president of the sections of neurology, psychiatry, and clinical medicine of the Royal Society of Medicine, of the International Society of Medical Hydrology, of the Institute of Hospital Almoners, and of the Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1940 he was awarded the Osler memorial medal by the university of Oxford, and he was an honorary Doctor of Law of Queen's University, Belfast, and of the university of Manitoba. He was elected an honorary fellow of Magdalen in 1928 and an honorary student of Christ Church in 1943.
Buzzard retained his love for almost every form of active sport and his other interests included the Turf, sketching, the collection of pictures, and the exploration of old churches. In 1899 he married May, daughter of Edward Bliss, of Edgbaston, and by her he had two sons and three daughters. He died at Oxford 17 December 1945, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his elder son Anthony Wass (born 1902), a rear-admiral in the Royal Navy, and director of naval intelligence, 1951-4. A portrait by James Gunn is at Christ Church, Oxford.
The Times, 19 December 1945
British Medical Journal and Lancet, 29 December 1945
St. Thomas's Hospital Gazette, February 1946
Nature, 23 February 1946.
Contributor: W. J. Bishop.