Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Farre, Arthur

FARRE, ARTHUR (1811–1887), obstetric physician, younger son of Dr. John Richard Farre [q. v.] of Charterhouse Square, London, was born in London on 6 March 1811. He was educated at Charterhouse School and at Caius College, Cambridge. After studying medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, he graduated M.B. at Cambridge in 1833 and M.D. in 1841, and he became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1843. In 1836–7 he lectured on comparative anatomy at St. Bartholomew's, and from 1838 to 1840 on forensic medicine. In 1841 he succeeded Dr. Robert Fergusson as professor of obstetric medicine at King's College, and physician-accoucheur to King's College Hospital, which offices he held till 1862. At the College of Physicians he was in succession censor, examiner, and councillor, and was Harveian orator in 1872. For twenty-four years (1852–1875) he was examiner in midwifery to the Royal College of Surgeons, resigning with his colleagues Drs. Priestley and Barnes when it was sought to throw the college examination in midwifery open to persons not otherwise qualified in medicine or surgery. This step was decisive against the scheme, for no suitable successors were willing to take the office.

Farre was specially qualified to be a successful fashionable obstetrician, and in this capacity he attended the Princess of Wales and other members of the royal family, and was made physician extraordinary to the queen. His principal contribution to medical literature was his very valuable article on ‘The Uterus and its Appendages,’ constituting parts 49 and 50 of Todd's ‘Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology,’ issued in 1858. He contributed numerous papers on microscopy to the ‘Royal Microscopical Society's Journal and Transactions,’ and was president of the society in 1851–2. An early microscopical paper of his, ‘On the Minute Structure of some of the Higher Forms of Polypi’ (‘Phil. Trans.’ 1837), secured his election into the Royal Society in 1839. On the death of Sir C. Locock in 1875, Farre was elected honorary president of the Obstetrical Society of London, to which he gave a valuable collection of pelves and gynæcological casts. Farre died in London on 17 Dec. 1887, and was buried at Kensal Green on 22 Dec. He left no children, and his wife died before him.

[Brit. Med. Journ. 24 Dec. 1887; Times, 20 Dec. 1887.]

G. T. B.