Dr John Boyd


19/12/1902 to 26/10/1981

Place of birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nationality: British

CRN: 715337

Education and qualifications

General education

Royal Belfast Academical Institution; Queen’s University, Belfast

Primary medical qualification(s)

MB BCh BAO, Queen’s University Belfast, 1926

Initial Fellowship and type

FFARCS by Election

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

MD, Queen’s University Belfast, 1933; DA(RCP&SI), 1943

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After working as a house surgeon in both the Royal Victoria Hospital and Queen Street Hospital for Children in Belfast, John Boyd was appointed Honorary Anaesthetist to the latter by his colleagues in 1928, apparently without any reference to management. He became Assistant Anaesthetist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1937 and combined a busy general practice with working in the two hospitals. In 1945 the Board of Management at the Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (later designated Royal), which had relocated to Falls Road in the interim, created the post of Honorary Visiting Anaesthetist on condition that the person appointed be engaged exclusively in the practice of anaesthesia. Boyd’s candidature was unanimously approved and he gave up his general practice to take up the appointment. He became a Consultant Anaesthetist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1948 and retired in 1969.

Professional interests and activities

Published extensively on Avertin (tribromoethanol) as a complete anaesthetic in children, and also on cyclopropane anaesthesia. His MD thesis was on the use of rectal Avertin and in 1960 he was also a foundation recipient of the FFARCSI.

Other biographical information

The son of a baker, John Boyd paid his own way through the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Queen’s University Medical School by dint of hard work and business enterprise - he augmented his schoolboy pocket money by selling the well-known Ulster soda bread. Of short stature, he was always immaculately dressed, his sartorial elegance being crowned by the wearing of a large trilby hat which was often the only part of him visible above the steering wheel of his massive black Lanchester limousine. He was a dedicated Bible student whose expert opinion was regularly sought regarding the interpretation of various passages and who was at his happiest teaching Holy Writ in a small gospel hall in Crossgar, Co. Down.

Author and Sources

Author: Dr Declan Warde

Sources and any other comments:
Sources: Medical Directory, and entries in three books: Cadwell HG, The Life and Times of a Voluntary Hospital: the history of the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, 1873-1948. Belfast: Brough, Cox and Dunn; 1973 Clarke RSJ, The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast: a history, 1797-1997. Belfast: Blackstaff; 1997 Love H, The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children – a history, 1948-1998. Belfast: Blackstaff; 1998.  A photo of Dr John Boyd is included in H Love's book.