Vol 13 No 4 Sir Francis Mark Farmer

Non-Hampton & Richmond Borough related posts.
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Things you may not know, or didn’t know you knew!

Renowned Dental Surgeon

In Hampton Cemetery sits a very grand monument to Sir Francis Mark Farmer (1866 – 1922), in his time a famous Dental Surgeon and leading expert on facial reconstruction especially in relation to gunshot wounds.

Farmer was born in County Wicklow, Ireland, and after his family moved to England was living in Belgrade Road. He qualified as a dentist in 1894 after studying at the National Dental Hospital and at Middlesex Hospital.

Farmer began work on facial reconstruction during the Boer War. The Boer War was fought between Britain and the ‘Boers’ who were originally Dutch settlers who lived in the South Africa Free State and the Orange Free State in South Africa. The wars took place between 1880 and 1881 and then, again, between 1899 and 1902. The conflicts were against the British Empire’s influence in South African affairs. The Boer Wars can be thought of as a pre-cursor to industrialised warfare and saw an increase in non-fatal gunshot wounds suffered by the combatants.

Farmer’s contribution to facial reconstruction won him many plaudits after the cessation of hostilities.

Despite his working in the heart of London, Farmer continued to live with his parents in 39 Belgrade Road in a house called St Winifred’s, even after his marriage to Gwendoline (who died in 1914).

In 1911 he was a founder member of the London Dental School. During the First World War, Farmer’s work in facial reconstruction came to the fore again as medical staff worked to improve the health and appearance of soldiers suffering appalling injuries during the conflict. In the 1916 Birthday Honours, Farmer was knighted for his services in WW 1 and from 1917 served as a temporary Honorary Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

In 1922 Sir, as he was now, Francis Farmer married for a second time to Kate. Later that same year he died suddenly of a heart attack. Following a service at Brompton Oratory he was buried in Hampton Cemetery.

Sir Francis was held in such esteem that Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, sent a wreath which was inscribed ‘For my dear Sir Francis Farmer, with deepest regret and sorrow’.

In 1924 at a dedication of a memorial at the London Hospital Medical College, Henry Asquith, a former Prime Minister, said that in the particular branch of surgery to which Sir Francis was devoted, he was certainly not surpassed by any of his contemporaries.

His widow died at the family home in 1957.

The Old Historian
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