Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern in full Godfrey Martin Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern of Rhodesia and of Bexley, also called (1941–55) Sir Godfrey Huggins was a Rhodesian politician and physician. Huggins became the longest-serving prime minister in British Commonwealth history after he served as the fourth Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia from 1933 to 1953 and remained in office as the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland until October 1956.

Background

Born: July 6 1883 in Bexley, Kent, England

Died: May 8 1971 in Salisbury, Rhodesia

Huggins was the second child, but the eldest son of a stockbroker. The family later moved to a property his father built, 'Shore House' in Sevenoaks, a town 27 miles from London.

After practicing medicine in London, Huggins migrated to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, in 1911 for reasons of health and soon established a reputation as a surgeon. [1]

Education

He was educated at Brunswick House, a preparatory school in Hove and then moved to Sutherland House, a similar school in Folkestone.

He suffered a severe infection of the left middle ear at the age of 11, which left him deaf on that side and delayed his move to Malvern College in 1898. He qualified M.R.C.S., and L.R.C.P., in 1906, and took his F.R.C.S. in England in 1908. He held several surgical house appointments at St. Thomas’s Hospital over a period of two-and-a-half years. He was appointed house physician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street, later medical superintendent.

Having overworked he went to Southern Rhodesia to do a locum in 1911 but remained to practise his profession in partnership with Drs. Appleyard and Cheadle.

First World War

During the First World War Godfrey Huggins served with distinction in the R.A.M.C. in England, Malta and France and rose to the rank of Surgeon-Major. His war experience revealed his exceptional surgical skill. He returned to the Colony and was one of the few medical men available during the 1918 ‘flu epidemic. In 1922 he gave up general practice and became a consulting surgeon.[2]

Political Career

When Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing colony in 1923, Huggins was elected to the Legislative Council. Godfrey Huggins was a member of the Rhodesian Party until 1931 when he joined the Reform Party of which he was elected leader.[2]

In 1933 his Reform Party won about half the Assembly seats, and he became prime minister and also secretary of native affairs until 1949. Consultations between him and Sir Percy Fynn, leader of the Rhodesian Party, resulted in a coalition under the name of the United Party.[2]

In contrast to the British government’s wish for a policy of “trusteeship,” in which the interests of black Africans were paramount, Huggins supported the South African concepts of separate development, speaking of a “two pyramid” policy with black Africans at the top of one pyramid but barely equal to white settlers and their descendants at the bottom of the other.

His scheme to unite the two Rhodesias (Northern and Southern) and Nyasaland was finally realized in 1953, and a decisive victory at the polls by the Federal Party confirmed his premiership. Black Africans in all three territories opposed the Federation, however; although Huggins had gradually moved away from the “two pyramid” policy to one of “partnership,” he revealed his vision of interracial partnership between white settlers and their descendants and black Africans to be that of “the rider and the horse,” with the majority of political and economic power continuing to elude black Africans.[1]

Honors & Awards

He was knighted in 1941. Huggins was created a viscount in 1955.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Godfrey Huggins, 1st Viscount Malvern, Britannica, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: January 12, 2022
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sir Godfrey Huggins, Lord Malvern 1883-1971, rhodesia.me.uk, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: January 12, 2022