OUP user menu

Editorial

Alastair Compston
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awt011 359-361 First published online: 14 February 2013

It was natural that most physicians appointed to the staff of the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queen Square, after it opened in 1860, published versions of their lectures on the emerging discipline of clinical neurology; and many also wrote textbooks on the subject for students and practitioners. Some of this content was borrowed and much was based on astute observation of clinical cases, the experiments of nature; but of original research there was little, although several Victorian physicians did carry out laboratory studies in collaboration with Sir David Ferrier (1843–1928) and (Sir) Victor Horsley (1857–1916). Charles Edward Beevor (1854–1908) was appointed resident medical officer to the National Hospital in 1880; joined the staff as assistant physician in 1883; and, with responsibility for teaching, served soon after as first Dean of the Medical School. (Sir) Gordon Holmes (1876–1965) considered that, as a neurologist, Beevor was neither ‘distinguished nor an inspired teacher … courteous and considerate to his juniors, it cannot be claimed that his visits to the wards, which often lasted four hours or more, were popular’ (The National Hospital 1954; pp. 50–1). Methodologically industrious and scientifically cautious as a clinician, ‘ … no breath of slander ever passed his lips; his mind and thoughts were white and clear as those of a child. He never uttered an unkind word’ (Anon, Queen Square and the National Hospital 1860–1960; pp. 92–3). In 1886, Beevor was elected as a founder member of The Neurological Society of London; and he served as treasurer from 1894 to 1905, member of Council in 1893, vice-president in 1905–6, and as the Society’s last president in 1907-transferring in that capacity as foundation president of the section of neurology within the newly formed Royal Society of Medicine.

At their first meeting on 15 October 1907, …