Tribute: Peter Homan

The members and committee of the British Society for the History of Pharmacy (BSHP) were deeply shocked to learn of the death of Peter Homan. He was a long-serving and loyal supporter of our work, and he will be missed by all of us in so many ways.

He became BSHP’s full time honorary secretary around 1998, when the Society lost the services of a paid secretary, who had been based at the Edinburgh office of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. He grew into the role with his usual professionalism and did such a good job that he held the position for at least 20 years.

In 2018, the committee proposed that — at long last — he be elected as president. It was to Peter’s eternal credit that he had the Society’s affairs so well organised that the handover of secretarial duties to Roy Allcorn was seamless.  He was so very proud of being president and held this well deserved position for two and a half years until October 2020.

He was a part-time volunteer in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) museum, devoting 2 days each week to it for 25 years. He loved the role, which allowed his knowledge about pharmacy past and present to come to the fore and blossom. His work meant so much to the RPS and was important for him personally. He researched, gave talks and demonstrations to visitors to the museum, and wrote information sheets and articles. He revelled in sharing his knowledge of the subject. He contributed a chapter on community pharmacy history to Making Medicines (Pharmaceutical Press, 2005) and co-authored Popular Medicines (Pharmaceutical Press, 2008)

Our Society awarded him our own Leslie Mathews medal in 2015 at our annual conference in Sunderland. This medal honours the memory of Mr Leslie G. Matthews — a barrister, notable pharmacist and scholar — and is awarded for original and scholarly work on the history of British pharmacy. Evaluated on competence of research, skill in interpretation and ability in presentation, the medal was awarded to Peter in recognition of his significant achievements in all three areas. Of course, Peter also became a Fellow of the RPS based on his outstanding contribution to pharmacy history.

Peter was the ultimate people person and loved all forms of personal interaction. Those whose lives were touched by him know exactly what we mean. As an inspirational figure, and being so knowledgeable, he will be a huge loss to pharmacy history.

His prescription for life was to live it to the full, which he dispensed with infectious enthusiasm. He loved our annual conferences and, fittingly, the one we have just held online was dedicated to his memory. He will be sorely missed.

Roy Allcorn, honorary secretary, British Society for the History of Pharmacy (BSHP) and Briony Hudson, BSHP conference organiser

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, April 2021, Vol 306, No 7948;306(7948)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.76208

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