Pond, Desmond Arthur 1919 - 1986


(1919-1986), psychiatrist

Desmond Arthur Pond was born in Catford, London on 2 September 1919. He was educated at St Olave’s School, before studying Natural and Moral Sciences at Clare College, Cambridge. After graduating, Pond secured a Rockefeller studentship at Duke University Medical School, North Carolina, where he studied between 1942 and 1944. After qualifying in 1945, and a brief posting at a psychiatric hospital in Bristol, Pond began working at the Maudsley Hospital, London in 1947.

At the Maudsley, Pond’s research focused on epilepsy, brain damage, and electroencephalography (EEG, the measurement of the electrical activity of the brain), particularly focusing on the clinical use of EEG in cases of childhood brain damage, temporal lobe epilepsy, narcolepsy, and juvenile delinquency. These research projects contributed to Pond’s growing reputation as an expert on the social, emotional, and psychiatric dimensions of childhood development. Pond also played a leading role in establishing support and guidance services for the parents of ‘troubled’ children in London’s East End.

In his later years, Pond took up a number of prestigious administrative posts, including as a scientific member of the Medical Research Council (1968-1972) and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1978-1981).

Pond died of cancer in Torquay, Devon on 29 June 1986.